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Full text of "A memoir of the life and labors of the Rev. Thomas G. Stewart"

A MEMOIR 



OF THE 



LIFE AND LABORS 



OF THE 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



BY HIS SON. 



He was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and? 
much people was added unto the Lord. — Acts xi. 24. 



PHILADELPHIA: 
COLLINS, PRINTER, 705 LODGE ALLEY. 
1858. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year lS58 r by 
W. G. STEWAET, 
in the Clerk's Office of the District Conrt of the United States for the 
Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 



PREFACE. 



When first assigned the writing of this biography, 
a conviction of my own incompetency prompted me 
to decline the service : but urged by many of my 
father's friends, and encouraged by ministers of the 
gospel who were intimately acquainted with him, I 
felt that I could not refuse, at least, to make the 
attempt. I had no doubt respecting the propriety 
of placing his personal history before the public, but 
I felt the difficulty of doing justice to a character of 
such rare excellence, and to a course of action so 
peculiar and successful. 

I found it impossible to trace the gradual develop- 
ment of such a man, and to describe his wonderful 
ministry, without experiencing myself emotions of 
pleasure and profit; and the warmest aspirations of 



iv PREFACE. 

my heart are, that this book — written with so many 
misgivings — may prove satisfactory to all who knew 
him, and a blessing to others who may peruse it. 

Many persons who have been accustomed to re- 
gard Mr. Stewart only as the powerful preacher, the 
untiring advocate of the cross of Christ, will see 
him as the kind husband, the tenderly affectionate 
father, whose yearnings for his own immediate 
family were deep and incessant. From the follow- 
ing record, it is presumed that a tolerably correct 
view may be obtained of his life and labors. There 
may possibly be a few numerical inaccuracies, and 
peradventure some minor appointments dropped, but 
these can be but slight and unimportant. Most of 
the materials were collected from individuals who 
were present with him, and were eye-witnesses of his 
activity. His detached journal, and the very few 
other papers which he left, proscribed continuous 
or frequent extracts ; but a number of the most in- 
teresting parts of the diary have been literally 
transcribed. 

From the whole, it will be seen that all Mr. Stew- 
art's energies were devoted to the advancement of 



PREFACE. V 

religion — the life of God in the soul of man — " the 
kingdom" which i; is not meat and drink, but right- 
eousness, and peace, and joy, in the Holy Ghost." 
In this, and in other respects, he has bequeathed to 
his successors in the ministry, an example which is 
scarcely less serviceable than the services of his 
active life. 

W. G. S. 

Philadelphia, May 1, 1S5S. 



A* 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

FEOM HIS BIETH TO HIS REMOVAL TO OHIO. 

Birth — Ancestry — Taught to pray — A mother's influence — Death 
of his mother — Mysteries of Providence — His father's marriage 
— Unhappiness — Hardships — Seeks pleasure in society — At- 
tends Methodist meeting — Singular presentiment — Deserts his 
home — Employed on a farm — Apprenticed to the manufacture 
of woollen cloths — New resolutions — Goes to Cedarville, N. J. 
— Marriage — Visits home — Erects family altar in his own house 
— Removes to Burlington — Religious inquiries — Examines 
predestination — Removes to Colebrookdale, Pa. — Levi Bull — 
(Mr. Stewart) goes into business — Failure . . Page 13 



CHAPTER II. 

CONVERSION AND MANIFESTATION OF ZEAL. 

Settles in Warren — Emigrants — Attends the Presbyterian 

church — Death of Judge A Awakened — Resolves to 

seek God — Conversion — Exhorts — Two souls convicted of sin 
thereby — Religious fervor of Mr. Stewart — Prayer-meeting 
organized — Revival in the court-house — Reflections — Contro- 
versies—Studies , 31 



Vlll 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER III. 

FROM HIS FIRST SPEAKING IN PUBLIC TILL APPOINTED CLASS-LEADER. 

Invited to preach — Goes to camp-meeting at Braceville — Dis- 
satisfied among the Presbyterians — Takes Mrs. Stewart to 
Smithfield camp-meeting — Exhorts on a stump — They connect 
themselves with the Methodists — Advice of Joseph Curtis — 
Scheme to increase their numbers — Extract from journal — 
Ballast — Pleasing God . . . . . Page 47 

CHAPTER IV. 

LABORS IN OHIO. 

Mr. McMahn preaches from " the word of the Devil" — A good 
congregation — Rev. Dennis Goddard — Sketches from Mr. Stew- 
art's diary — His class at Weathersfield — Precept and example 
— Studies — Gifts and graces — Attack against his character — 
His labors not in vain — Government of children — Anecdote — 
Mr. Stewart removes to Windsor — Troubles — Triumphs — 
Visits Burlington — Mrs. Stewart at Mr. Hall's — Parkman — 
Return to New Jersey — Anecdote . . . . .58 

CHAPTER V. 

AN ITINERANT AND MISSIONARY. 

Exhorting license renewed — Caleb Lippincott — Receives license 
to preach from Charles Pitman — Received on trial at Confer- 
ence in Philadelphia — William Granville — Sent to Pemberton 
Circuit — Vincenttown camp-meeting — Henry Boem — Sent to 
Bergen Mission — Hardships on new ground — Illness — Extracts 
from diary — Compelled to ask of Christians the privilege of 
staying all night — Revisits Pemberton Circuit — New Brunswick 
camp-meeting — Effect of a sermon by Dr. Pitman — Prayer- 
meeting at Joseph Robbins' — James Folwell — Revival on the 
Mission — Henry Roberts— A letter 80 



CONTENTS. 



IX 



CHAPTER VI. 

FREEHOLD CIRCUIT. 

Mr. Stewart is ordained a deacon at Wilmington — Appointed to 
Freehold Circuit — Removal to Long Branch — Review of the 
circuit — Freehold and Red Bank adopted into it — David Bar- 
tine — Peculiar manner of Thos. Gr. Stewart — Large ingather- 
ing of souls — Anecdote — Letter to James Folwell — Conversion 
of John Hopper — Revival influence — Mr. Bartine supernume- 
rary — Messrs. Long and Day sent to the circuit — Reflections 
upon the ministerial trio — Extract from diary . Page 105 

CHAPTER VII. 

FREEHOLD AND TUCKERTON CIRCUITS. 

Letter to James Folwell — Mr. Stewart at Long Branch — Kind 
friends — William Throckmorton robbed by three ministers — 
Death of a saint — Conversion of his brother — A letter — Revival 
at Squankum — Hance Herbert — A ball-room changed into a 
prayer-room — Eatontown — William Rodgers — Joseph Goode- 
nough — Tuckerton Circuit — Illness of Mr. Stewart — Letter — 
Appointed to New Egypt, but returns to Manahocking 

121 

CHAPTER VIII. 

MR. STEWART ON CROSSWICKS AND NEW EGYPT CIRCUITS. 

Abolitionism — Revival at Sharon — Conversion and death of two 
young ladies — Euphemia Miller — A church erected in three 
months — Revival in Allentown — Miss Catharine D. — Influence 
of one Christian — Letters — Removes to New Egypt — Limited 
quarters — A parsonage built — Church burnt — Cookstown 
camp-meeting — George R. — Charles Downs with Mr. Stewart 
— Holiness — A troublesome colleague — Illness — Letter — Visit- 
ing among all classes — Extract from diary — Reliable and prac- 
tical faith — Stanzas 146 



X 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER IX. 

MR. STEWART ON CUMBERLAND CIRCUIT. 

Appointment of 1839 — Dr. Fisler — A pleasant colleague — Port 
Elizabeth — Change of text in the pulpit — Peculiarities of Mr. 
Stewart — His manner of preaching — Stanzas — His soul is en- 
couraged by cheering prospects — Parsonage repaired — Undi- 
vided spiritual interest — Millville — Character of its Christians 
— A sermon — Happy effect — Camp-meeting — Sudden death — 
Extract — Revivals — School-houses — Black Water — Anecdote 
— Conference at Burlington, in 1840 — Illness of his son Joseph 
— Returns to Port Elizabeth — Full churches the second year — 
Love feast at Millville — Mr. Stewart attends a camp-meeting 
at Daretown, on Salem Circuit — Result — Marriage of his eldest 
daughter Page 168 



CHAPTER X, 

MR. STEWART ON SALEM CIRCUIT. 

Removes to Allowaystown — Appointments — Preparation for a 
Campaign — Camp-meeting — A new church — Revival atHaine's 
Neck — Extraordinary time at Penn's Neck — An exhortation — 
Its effect — Mr. Stewart at Salem — Anecdote — Illness of his 
son — Abram Owen — Penn's Neck camp-meeting — Individual 
conversions — Another new church — Revival in Pittsgrove — 
Wonderful success in bringing souls to Christ — " A seeker's 
department" in the church — Manner of Mr. Stewart in the 
meetings — Judah's Lion — Death of his son — Letter . 187 

CHAPTER XI. 

MR. STEWART ON SWEDESBORO' CIRCUIT. 

Crowing old — Constant exposure prejudicial to his health — Gene- 
ral affection for him — Care in sickness— No inclination to take 
a station — An increasing love for his work — Mrs. Stewart's 
deas of his assuming a supernumerary character — Removes 



CONTENTS. 



xi 



to Swedesboro' — His colleague- — Origin of the church in 
Swedesboro' — Large camp-meeting — Death, of David Woolf — 
Denominational unity — Happy effect — The man who objected 
to noise — A letter — Death of Martha — Mr. Stewart's longing for 
the conversion of sinners — Revivals at Sculltown, Paulsboro', 
&c. — His love for all of pure faith — Father Walker Page 205 

CHAPTER XII. 

ME. STEWAET 02* MOOBESTOWN CIECUIT. 

Extract — His humility and fitness for his work — Still labors with 
unabated eagerness — Appointments on his new charge — A 
sense of responsibility — Commends himself and his people to 
God — Faith — Methodism in Moorestown — Plan concerted to 
interest the people — Success — A protracted meeting — Blessed 
results — A dream — Conversion of a young lady who avoided 
a protracted meeting — Changed spiritual aspect of the town — 
The swearer converted — Sudden death of a scorner — Revivals 
in various parts of the circuit — Close of the year — Solicited 
to return — Consents — Two colleagues — Death of his daughter 
Maria — A new church — Revival therein — Cries of penitents 
interrupt the preacher — The ministerial trio at Black wood- 
town — Sac cess — Close of the year 220 

CHAPTER XIII. 

FEOM LABOE TO EEWAED. 

Review — It is a cross for Mr. Stewart to desist from preaching — 
Revisits New Egypt Circuit— Goes to Penn's Neck — Closing 
address — In Salem and Harrisonville — Preaches three times 
in one day — His constancy — Manner of life during his super- 
numerary time — Takes advantage of every afflicting provi- 
dence to urge a perfect resignation to the will of God — His son 
James has consumption — Visits him at Millville — Preaches in 
Pittsgrove — Labors in Trenton — Closing sermons in Burling- 
ton — Sickness — Death — Grave-stone erected to his memory — 
Inscription — Death of James — Conclusion . . . 238 



INTRODUCTION. 



The press, in the books which it scatters broadcast over 
the land, does not simply mould and fashion, but to a very 
considerable extent, it also follows popular taste, and is in 
this an indication of the state of the public mind to which 
it caters. The remembrance of this truth, of which even 
a superficial observation will convince us, shows that there 
is now just reason for every good man to congratulate 
himself. At no former period have the current issues of 
that potent agent of civilization and Christianity been so 
deeply imbued with the spirit, or so directly treated of 
"the truth which is according to godliness." 

While the secular periodicals have ever found business 
interests promoted by giving to the once well-nigh ostra- 
cized subject of religion in its practical workings, a promi- 
nent place in their columns, volume after volume, gathering 
its materials from the same field, demanding, not in vain, 
a more permanent place in our regard, in large and re- 
peated editions, have rapidly succeeded each other. The 
pen, it is true, is still employed far too largely in the pro- 
duction of that description of literature, which calls good 



xiv 



INTRODUCTION. 



evil and evil good ; or at best in illustrating, embellishing 
and rendering attractive sentiments and views of life which 
tend to nothing higher than to make man more and more 
of the earth, earthy ; but still, no one can take a survey of 
the shelves of our booksellers, and remember what a few 
short years ago would have exhibited there, without per- 
ceiving that a happy change, in this respect, has been and 
is in progress. 

That portion of the department of religious reading 
which has recently received the largest and most attractive 
contributions, and which, perhaps, always most readily 
commanded popular attention, is, undoubtedly, biography. 
Nothing strikes like a fact. Truth in action appeals at 
once to the understanding and the heart. 

" We see the man immortal," 

and the lives of Christian believers become pleasing in- 
structors to us, because they illustrate in the most impres- 
sive manner the two important points — as to what the soul 
may experience of God, and what the life may do for God. 

Wesleyan literature across the waters, it is well known, 
has, for years, been rich in its stores of this description, 
especially in the lives of its deceased ministers, to say 
nothing of those princes and great men in Israel, who 
under God were the originators and master spirits of that 
mighty religious movement, which stands out before the 
world now as our glorious Methodism ; men, whose names 
have become household words, wherever vital piety is 



INTRODUCTION. 



XV 



known and honored ; the lives of Bramwel], and Stoner, 
and Smith, and Langdon, and Dawson and others, though 
more humble in their pretensions, have been attested as 
possessing merits of a rare character. If American Me- 
thodism has in the past appeared to be behind her trans- 
Atlantic sister in this respect, the deficiency is now being 
provided for, and, judging from the number of memoirs 
and autobiographies at this time rapidly appearing, before 
the present decade shall have expired, may cease to exist. 
Garrettson, Collins, Finley, Cartwright, Young and others 
already stand before the Methodist public in volumes of 
greater or lesser capacity, and the present publication 
asks some position in this honored rank for another name, 
less widely known perhaps, but yet held in grateful re- 
membrance by those who once witnessed how he led 

" to glorious war 
The sacramental host of God's elect." 

Thomas G. Stewart was a good man, "full of faith and 
of the Holy Ghost and if that be a just criterion which 
Mr. Wesley lays down when he says, " He is the best 
preacher who saves the most souls," then the reading of 
this narrative will show that the place which the subject 
of it is entitled to occupy among the ambassadors of the 
cross, is one which may well command for him our high 
regard. As it respects the salvation of sinners, few men 
in the same length of time have surpassed him in making 
full proof of their ministry. Awakened in the providence 



xvi 



INTRODUCTION. 



of God in a peculiar manner, and subsequently converted 
and called into the holy office, the great pervading thought 
ever afterward with him appeared to be, that " God had 
appeared to him to make him a minister, to send him to 
open men's eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and 
from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive 
forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them that are 
sanctified by faith that is in Christ j" and this high com- 
mission, with all the powers of body and soul, he labored 
faithfully to execute. No man could come in contact with 
him without being made sensible of this. The question 
with him was not where he could enjoy the most ease, 
where he could get the most money, or where and how he 
could gain the most applause, but how and where he could 
win the most souls to Christ. This was his master passion. 
If ever there was a man absorbingly in earnest in this work, 
he was that man. Speaking of men in the ministry : " An 
earnest man," says John Angell James, "must of neces- 
sity be an active one. I see my object," he exclaims ; "it 
stands out in bold relief, clearly depicted before my eyes, 
and I will leave no effort untried to accomplish it. I have 
made up my mind to labor, to self-denial, to fatigue, and 
if I do not succeed, it shall not be for the want of deter- 
mined, continuous effort. Such is his resolution, and his 
practice is like it. He is always at work. You know 
where to find him and how he is employed. He is the 
very type of diligence. Labor is pleasure. No difficul- 
ties deter him, no disappointments dishearten him." Who 



INTRODUCTION. 



xvii 



that knew him can fail to remember how fully this descrip- 
tion was exemplified in Stewart. He was a true member 
of that band which one has called " The Legio Fulminea — 
the Thundering Legion of Methodism, whose duty it was 
to break and scatter the ranks of the enemy, to pursue 
and shout onward in the rout, and to leave the field 
covered with the spoils of victory." 

Every one must perceive that no special claims, on the 
score of literary qualification, were or could be made for 
him ; but with his smooth stones out of the brook, he 
went up to do battle in the name of the Lord of Hosts, 
and again and again the Goliah of sin lay slain before 
him. No one, more favorably circumstanced than he was 
in regard to the helps for ministerial training, should fall 
into the error of supposing that because God, through 
him, did so much without them, he may not, in other 
cases, do much more with them ; but while we do our ut- 
most in improving our superior advantages, we may regard 
him as an example, and expect Divine Providence from 
time to time to raise up more to show how God with 
" the foolish things of this world," as men consider them, 
"confounds the things that are wise ; and with the weak 
things of the world confounds the things which are mighty ; 
and base things of this world, and things which are de- 
spised, yea, and things that are not, to bring to nought 
things that are." 

S. Y. MONROE. 

N. J. Conference. 



LIFE OF REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



CHAPTER I. 

FROM HIS BIRTH TO HIS REMOVAL TO OHIO. 

Birth. — Ancestry — Taught to pray — A mother's influence — Death 
of his mother — Mysteries of Providence — His father's marriage 
— Unhappiness — Hardships — Seeks pleasure in society — At- 
tends Methodist meeting — Singular presentiment — Deserts his 
home — Employed on a farm — Apprenticed to the manufacture 
of woollen cloths — New resolutions — Goes to Cedarville, N. J. 
— Marriage — Visits home — Erects family altar in his own house 
— Removes to Burlington — Religious inquiries — Examines 
predestination — Removes to Colebrookdale, Pa. — Levi Bull — 
(Mr. Stewart) goes into business — Failure. 

Thomas G-. Stewart was born in Burlington 
County, in the State of New Jersey, two miles 
northeast of the City of Burlington, on the 30th of 
October, 1790. His father had four wives; the 
mother of Thomas was the second, and he was the 
fifth of eight children, one of whom, his only 
brother, died when less than three months old. His 
paternal ancestry were of Scotch origin ; they were 
2 



14 



LIFE OF 



strongly attached to the established Church of Eng- 
land, to the faith and forms of which his father ad- 
hered with pertinacity, up to the date of Thomas' 
conversion. His mother was connected with the 
Society of Friends, and as his early education was 
intrusted wholly to her, he was taught to live a 
moral life ; to " do to others as he would have them 
do to him." Happy for young Thomas, his mother's 
views were orthodox ; she carefully read and reflected 
upon the word of God; pondered the language of 
Christ in her heart, and instructed her children ac- 
cordingly. Among Thomas' first recorded recollec- 
tions, was the circumstance of his infant feet being 
led into the seclusion of his mother's chamber, where 
he was taught to repeat the Lord's prayer, and to 
love and revere the name of God, of whom he heard 
his father read every Sabbath day. In subsequent 
years, he referred with tender and grateful emotions 
to those precious seasons, when his affectionate 
mother planted the seeds of Christianity in his 
youthful heart, which he ever believed exerted a 
powerful and happy influence upon his character 
and life. In his seventh year, he met with an irre- 
parable loss, in the death of his excellent mother. 
Though erring and short-sighted man may wonder 
at that inscrutable Providence which cuts off a 
devoted mother from her infants, yet He who holds 
the destinies of creation in His mighty grasp, and 
sways an irresistible sceptre over the universe, 
acts not without a reason ; and faith teaches us a 
patient submission to His doings, believing, when 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



15 



the veil is removed and God's ways are revealed to 
man, that he will joyfully exclaim: — 

"My Jesus hath, done all things well." 

Mr. Stewart's father, in sl short time, married Mrs. 
Mary Tuley, a widow possessing a proud, supercil- 
ious spirit, whose character was antagonistic in 
every point to that of her amiable predecessor. 
And now Thomas began to tread a thorny path. 
The children incorporated into the family by his 
father's unfortunate union, were a constant source of 
feud, and the unqualified sarcasm of the haughty 
and unfeeling step-mother, daily fell with the crush- 
ing weight of an avalanche upon the poor boy's 
head. But recollecting the wise and wholesome 
counsel of her about whom he continually wept in 
secret, he pursued the even tenor of his way, essay- 
ing to return good for evil, and thus conciliate the 
churlish members of the newly-organized household. 
The circumstances by which he was surrounded 
were adverse, in every particular, to his improvement 
in morality ; he was a perpetual subject to aggravat- 
ing family assaults, privations, unceasing and onerous 
toil, and many other hardships, which, but for a 
naturally robust constitution, he would not have 
been able to sustain. Familiarity with scenes of a 
heart-callousing character, induced a disposition of 
recklessness that made him a sort of demagogue or 
ringleader among the lads who consorted with him. 
He was bold, hasty, and intrepid, and displayed a 
mental vigor which, had he been favored with early 



16 



LIFE OF 



educational advantages, must have elevated him 
above the standard of ordinary students. 

Deprived of his only religious counsellor, and 
without a single friend to warn him of the dangerous 
quicksands and treacherous snares with which life 
is beset, he was left to select such society and amuse- 
ments as the disreputable district furnished. He 
was of a social spirit; relished what was termed "a 
good song," and " a merry dance," consequently was 
a favorite guest at all convivial parties in the neigh- 
borhood. 

He occasionally attended Methodist meeting in 
the house of Mr. Hewlitt Hancock, and the sermons 
preached, for a little time, seemed to find a lodgement 
in his susceptible heart; but circumscribed by influ- 
ences so disastrous, the good effect was soon erased. 
The seed fell, but alas ! " the fowls came and devoured 
it." At the age of seventeen, after attending one of 
these meetings, he was signally visited by the Holy 
Spirit's gracious influence; his serious thought re- 
curred to the example and instruction of his departed 
mother, and both her language and the warning 
voice of the Methodist preacher impressed him in a 
more forcible manner than at any previous time. 
" Oh," he was led to exclaim, " I wish I might enjoy 
what I hear these Christians speak of. If I did, / 
think I could preach myself! Who knows but that I 
will preach some time. I hope I may ! Ithink I shall!" 
And in this train of thought, he afterwards declared 
that he imagined himself standing on the walls of 
Zion, sounding the gospel trumpet, and exhorting 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



17 



with that peculiar vehemence which subsequently 
characterized his indefatigable efforts for the salva- 
tion of his fellow creatures. 

Perpetually harassed by animadversions from the 
sovereign of his sorrowful home, and entertaining 
only the crude and misguiding judgment of "an 
alien from the commonwealth of Israel" and its 
God, whose guidance invariably conducts aright, he, 
at the age of eighteen, resolved to desert his father's 
farm and go to sea! He was charmed with the 
interesting adventures of travelers which he had 
read : he ardently longed to rove the wide earth and 
blue sea, uncontrolled and free as the winged birds, 
and he pictured to himself a grand and terrific storm 
off some rocky promontory, when he should stand 
firm and unappalled upon the deck of the rolling 
ship, until eventually finding all hope fled, he should 
display unswerving prowess by assisting in the 
manufacture of an extensive raft, and thus become 
instrumental in saving many from a watery grave. 

Was such imagery the foreshadowing of the 
storms of religious opposition he should encounter, 
and his arduous exertions to rescue drowning souls 
from that fearful death that never, never dies ? 

Thomas left clandestinely the house which had 
been the site of early loving experience and suc- 
ceeding painful scenes, and repairing to Philadel- 
phia, sought, with no small degree of enthusiasm, a 
vessel with whose captain he might engage as a 
common sailor. 

Oh ! who may tell the whole influence of a united, 
2* 



18 



LIFE OF 



happy home, where the eyes of affectionate parents 
beam with warm solicitude, and those of brothers 
and sisters emit gleams of sunshine that carry peace 
and joy to the domestic circle ? If the home-hearth 
be soothing, what effect have labor, fatigue, physical 
affliction, or adversity upon the spirit ? True, they 
may press for a moment, but is not the fireside made 
more bright, and are not the hearts that cluster there 
made purer and happier by the demonstration of 
earnest sympathy and love of those disinterested 
ones who hover, like guardian angels, around the 
suffering ? Ye who have never known the depriva- 
tion of such a blissful spot, ye who have not expe- 
rienced the intense pain of a heart, bursting with 
anguish, arising from parental neglect or partiality, 
ye who have not looked upon the beautiful earth 
and moved among gay and busy crowds, sighing for 
an affectionate companion, ye do but lightly estimate 
the blessing of a peaceful home. 

" Domestic happiness, thou only bliss 
Of Paradise that has survived the fall." 

As the boy pursued his solitary journey over the 
twenty miles intervening between Burlington and 
his destination, his thoughts took a melancholy 
coloring. He reflected upon his early life so plea- 
sant in the comfortable home — of his precious 
mother's grave, of the last time he heard her musi- 
cal voice ; and its loving tone still rang, like the echo 
of a mellow horn, among the high and craggy hills 
of trouble that rose between that glad hour and the 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



10 



present. Then his mind dwelt with profoundest 
sorrow upon the unhappy event, which had not only 
driven him a homeless wanderer from the place of 
his birth, but also from the place which he had 
occupied in his father's heart. He endeavored to 
think kindly of them whom he had left behind, and 
he repeated the sentiment — 

" To fly from, need not be to hate mankind." 

Warm tears coursed down his cheeks as he seated 
himself occasionally to rest, and then, a lingering 
glance was cast in the direction of the home he had 
forsaken, and his feeling soul seemed to cling with 
painful tenacity to departed, social hours and to the 
friendships he was then sacrificing. He was com- 
pelled to recall his mind to joyous imaginations to 
avert despondency, but despite strong efforts to the 
contrary, his heart surrendered itself to the luxury 
of grief, and its life-blood dropped in every foot- 
print. He felt he should be a houseless pilgrim 
among heartless multitudes, and for a moment re- 
flected that perhaps he was casting away the few 
comforts which still arose, like shrubs in a desert, to 
glad his weary pathway. But stimulating himself 
with dazzling hopes of a brighter future, he plodded 
resolutely forward. Arriving at Philadelphia, and 
failing to secure a situation on shipboard, he was 
persuaded to postpone his sea-going intentions till 
spring, at which time he hoped to realize the pleasure 
with which his imagination had invested the life of 
a sailor. He crossed the Schuylkill Eiver, and 



20 



LIFE OF 



proceeding five miles into the country, engaged with 
a Pennsylvania farmer to assist in the autumn labors. 
"When settled in this quiet home, his mind became 
composed, and he inspected his condition with more 
calmness and mature judgment, resolving to abandon 
the idea of ocean life, to begin the government of 
his conduct by strict principles of virtue and integrity, 
and aspire to a position among the educated and 
respected. Being but nineteen years of age, he 
entered a woollen factory, at the Falls of the Schuyl- 
kill, engaging himself as an apprentice to the carding, 
spinning, and general manufacturing of woollen 
cloth. After a summary apprenticeship of three 
weeks, he was voluntarily remunerated by his liberal 
employer, Mr. John Kershaw, and at the expiration 
of twelve months, his allotted period of subordinate 
service, he was complimented by experienced dealers 
in the article manufactured, by the declaration : 
"Thomas Stewart is an unexampled American 
spinner." At this time an extensive factory was 
erected in Cedarville, New Jersey, and probably 
through the recommendation of this eulogium, young 
Stewart was solicited 10 assume the charge of it. 
Accepting the proposal, he in less than two years 
from the departure from his father's house, found 
himself comfortably located in a lucrative office, and, 
like Joseph in Egypt, "a ruler over all the people 
save the throne." He boarded at the house of Mr. 
David Harris, an eminently pious Presbyterian, and 
his was the first family in which he ever witnessed 
"home worship." 



KEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



21 



Notwithstanding the attractions which religion 
had presented to his mind, it is evident that he con- 
tinued, up to this time, a stranger to the nature of 
Christianity. He maintained a distinguishing dignity 
of character, was rigidly just in all his business 
transactions, inflexibly true to his word, and ambi- 
tious to present his friends with a faultless morality. 
He added to these, an attractive suavity of manner, 
and an admirable courtesy of mien, which were sure 
to win him a welcome by those who were favored 
with his acquaintance, and all concurred in pro- 
nouncing him, at this time, the very embodiment of 
genuine wit, accomplishment, and good sense. Ee- 
ferring to this date in his subsequent dottings down, 
he says : " I carried a grateful remembrance of David 
Harris and the kind people of Cedarville for thirty 
years." 

Esteemed among the families of the village and 
adjacent farms, he was a frequent guest of the 
friends whose hospitality was so generously extended 
to him. Grateful for the numerous demonstrations 
of true friendship which he observed, he was disposed 
to show a just appreciation, by the utmost politeness 
in conducting those who came to the factor}^, from one 
department to another, exhibiting the various phases 
of the material in course of weaving, and explaining 
the utility of each distinct section of machinery. 
Upon one occasion, Miss Sarah B. Eeeves, who was 
visiting the sister-in-law of Mr. John Moore, came, 
accompanied by a circle of acquaintances, to witness 
the novel operations of the factory. Miss Keeves 



22 



LIFE OF 



was the daughter of Johnson Eeeves, who resided 
near Bridgeton. He was a rigorously Calvinistic 
Presbyterian; had trained his children "in the nur- 
ture and admonition of the Lord," and in the peculiar 
doctrines of election. Sarah united herself with the 
church and entered its communion at the age of 
fourteen ; and, during six years, held fast the profes- 
sion of her faith without wavering, presenting an 
exemplary, pious character to the companions of her 
youth. It is not singular that with Mr. Stewart's 
admiration of piety, he should be impressed with this 
young lady's excellence, and eventually propose to 
her a share in his humble lot. They were united on 
the 25th day of December, 1810. A few weeks sub- 
sequent he received a message from his father, who 
had been informed of his son's marriage, including 
an invitation to visit the homestead, accompanied by 
his wife. In compliance, the youthful bride and 
groom proceeded to Camden, and taking one of the 
regular line of packets plying upon the Delaware, 
arrived at Burlington after a passage of thirteen hours. 
During the brief sojourn of Mr. and Mrs. Stewart at 
the farm, his step-mother was the soul of civility to 
her guests. In the spring of 1811, Mr. Stewart was 
induced to return to the Falls of Schu^kill and re- 
sume his place at the loom, between which and him- 
self there seemed to be an attachment, from the fact 
that it was the first he had practised upon. Here he 
furnished a small house, and the first night of his 
removal, although still a stranger to the covenant of 
promise, erected an altar of prayer, and laying upon 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



23 



it with heartfelt sincerity a thank offering, he pre- 
sented to God the sacrifice of a grateful spirit. The 
family altar thus established was supported, almost 
without interruption, until his summons from earth. 
After a twelvemonth's residence here, a letter was 
received from Mr. Stewart, who now began to feel 
the infirmities of age, urging his son to return per- 
manently to the farm, and take the oversight of it 
upon himself. Considering his father's necessity, he 
repaired immediately to Burlington, and was duly 
installed into the management of the acres, which, 
but a few short years before, he had left with no ex- 
pectation of beholding again under such favorable 
auspices. He now attended the Episcopal church, 
under the pastoral charge of Rev. Dr. Wharton. 
Mr. Stewart was punctual in attendance, and con- 
stantly evidenced the utmost reverence for sacred 
things. One Sabbath day, in course of the service, 
the chorister was unable promptly to command a 
tune, appropriate to the measure of the hymn given 
out. Thomas' ready mind instantly calling up a 
suitable one, he struck upon it and led off confidently, 
the congregation uniting and appearing delighted 
with their deliverance from an apprehended failure. 
The following day he was invited to conduct the 
music of the choir. Ever ready to oblige, and a little 
ambitious to sustain his easily-acquired reputation, 
he accepted the call and discharged the functions of 
his office satisfactorily and creditably while he re- 
mained in the place. Upon cne occasion, a lady 
inquired of his father where his son received his 



24 



LIFE OF 



musical education. " Humph t" returned the matter- 
of-fact old gentleman, "I suppose at the same academy 
in which he pursued his other studies— at the handle 
of the plough /" 

After much serious reflection in regard to his sin- 
ful state, Mr. Stewart resolved to be baptized, and, 
accordingly, offered himself a candidate for that holy 
ordinance. Subsequently, feeling his guilt pressing 
him with a weight too ponderous and painful to be 
endured, he wandered about in the intensest agony 
of soul. The Methodists at this time held meetings 
in a small frame building, which stood on Broad St., 
near High. Fathers Osborne and Wooley, two 
famous veterans of the cross, were colleagues on 
"Burlington Circuit," which included the whole of 
Burlington County, and parts of several others. It 
was called "a four weeks circuit;" each minister of 
the gospel preaching in the same place once a month. 
James Sterling, Samuel Stockton, Hewlitt Hancock, 
and John Haines, were some of the pillars that sup- 
ported the comparatively small fabric of Methodism 
in Burlington at this time. The society was zealous, 
energetic, and united! This was what young Mr. 
Stewart was seeking after: a religion that was tangi- 
ble — that made its possessor feel, rejoice, and "tell 
his rapture all abroad." He found his way to the 
little frame house, he heard the narration of Christian 
experience, the story of spiritual conflicts and 
triumphs through grace; he heard holy men and 
women tell of earthly sorrows overbalanced by 
heavenly joys, of tribulation in the Christian pil- 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



25 



grimage subdued by the peace of God, which is 
able to hush the tumult of worldly woe and impart 
a celestial calm to the heart made a temple for the 
indwelling of Christ. There too he listened enrap- 
tured to the simple exposition of the "more sure 
word of prophecy"' by the venerable fathers who 
arrived once a fortnight. His soul was moved by 
the fervent prayers of the earnest brethren ; delighted 
with the lively airs in which the assemblies unani- 
mously joined. The economy of the Methodist 
church is well calculated to direct the minds of men 
who are feeling after Jesus and visited by the Hohy 
Spirit's gracious influence into the right path ! Mr. 
Stewart attended class-meetings occasionally; was 
present at the prayer-circle during the week, always 
enthusiastic, and profitable; and several times himself 
lifted up his voice in fervent supplication to the 
mercy-seat. Had providential circumstances favored 
him with wholesome counsellors, or given him access 
to the productions of the eminent fathers of Method- 
ism, his mind must have been greatly strengthened and 
edified ; but he did not consider himself sufficiently 
familiar with any of the members of that church to con- 
verse privately with them, and the scarcity of books 
proscribed the religious information to be derived 
from that source. He read the Bible studiously : parts 
of it gave him much enjoyment, while other portions 
made him wretched beyond description. Such pas- 
sages as, "The soul that sinneth it shall die," "The 
wicked shall be turned into hell, with all the nations 
that forget God," and "Except ye repent ye shall all 
3 



/ 



26 



LIFE OF 



likewise perish," brought fearful forebodings into 
his conscious spirit ; but " Him that cometh unto me 
I will in no wise cast out," " Come unto me, all ye 
that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you 
rest," and " Jesus Christ came not to call the right- 
eous, but sinners to repentance," encouraged him to 
come boldly to a throne of grace, and hope that 
through the merit of the Crucified, pardon and re- 
demption might be obtained. His conversation 
with Mrs. Stewart and others on the subject of pre- 
destination, sharpened his logical powers, but resulted 
in the partial subversion of his Arminian views. 
He marshaled the specious objections to his tenets 
before him, and essayed to examine them in every 
phase. Although guided by the reasoning abilities 
of his own mind alone, his investigations eventuated 
in "a plenary rejection of the horrible doctrine of 
election root and branch." Such was the incipient 
tutorage by which Mr. Stewart was being prepared 
by the Great Head of the church to be a chosen 
vessel of honor in the ranks of evangelists. How 
evident is it that Providence hath gracious designs 
in all his various dispensations ; the finite mind of 
man cannot at first perceive the projects of the 
Almighty, but how often do subsequent revelations 
show that in all his mysterious and sometimes 
afflictive measures, individual blessings, or perhaps 
the benefit of mankind generally is being accom- 
plished. Mr. Stewart now arrived at that epoch in 
his experience when he felt the displeasure of God 
against him, because he "held the truth in unright- 



REV. THOMAS G-. STEWART. 



27 



eousness." He, in some measure at least, understood 
the plan of salvation ; acknowledged the merit of 
Christ in offering himself a substitute for the death 
of the world, saw that his sacrificial blood must be 
efficacious in cleansing all who come to God by 
Him. Nevertheless he acted to too great an extent 
in opposition to the thofough conviction of his con- 
science, and he almost seemed to hear echoing in his 
ears the terrible denunciation, "you knew your duty, 
and you did it not." His knowledge of the truth 
struggled against sin, reproved him every time he 
violated one of God's commandments, dissuaded 
when about to partake of any forbidden indulgence, 
and warned him of the punishment of trespassing 
God's laws. He saw himself, moreover, in danger 
of judgment and punishment, yet he took no prompt 
and decided step to secure the blessing of peace and 
pardon. There were straggling thorns which 
"sprang up and choked the word, and it became un- 
fruitful." Thus in the midst of privileges not suffi- 
ciently appreciated or improved, passed two years 
of his life. Ah! the wily adversary is ever on the 
alert, to battle with the souls of such as he has reason 
to suppose will take a firm and lofty stand in favor 
of building up the glorious kingdom of God. 

Keceiving a proposal from the proprietor of a 
factory in Pennsylvania, and considering that his 
business was vastly more lucrative, and also more 
consonant with his feelings, he procured a competent 
laborer to fill the vacancy made by his exit from the 
farm, and once more bidding adieu to his father and 



28 



LIFE OF 



the home of his nativity, he removed his family to 
Colebrookdale. In this village, there was no Me- 
thodist church, and Mr. and Mrs. Stewart were 
again driven within the Protestant Episcopal pale. 
Their pastor, Eev. Levi Bull, was a zealous and 
untiring advocate for the Captain whose cause he 
espoused. Never did a herald of the cross raise a 
shriller trumpet to apprise sinners of their peril ; 
never was messenger of God inspired with more soul- 
impressed animation in crying, " Behold the Lamb." 
Mr. Bull had been educated by his father, Col. Bull, 
an officer in the American army, with reference to 
the legal profession, but having been powerfully 
converted while pursuing his collegiate studies, he 
straightway veered into a theological channel, and 
devoted his time and talents fully and unreservedly 
to a preparation for the work of the ministry. 
Betraying a religious enthusiasm, which is frequently 
the sequence of genuine Christianity, the apprehen- 
sion of his family was excited that his mind was 
wandering from its proper orbit, and his father 
unhesitatingly expressed his opinion that "Levi was 
actually going crazy." But replying, " Wist ye not 
that I must be about my Father's business?" he con- 
tinued to praise God for his wonderful goodness to 
the children of men, and to beseech his fellow- 
creatures to be reconciled to God through the blood 
of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

By the dispensations of this holy man of God, 
Mr. Stewart was much benefited theoretically, but it 
is plain that he was not made an experimental par- 



EEY. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



29 



taker of " like precious faith, with him through the 
righteousness of God." He found less earnestness 
and effectual fervent prayer among the laity of Cole- 
brookdale than in Burlington, and from this lower 
temperature of spiritual atmosphere, although bless- 
ed with increased gospel light, he became less 
thoughtful upon personal piety. 

In November, 1814, aspiring still higher in tem- 
poral ambition, he invested in new machinery the 
not inconsiderable sum amassed by diligence, indus- 
try, and frugality, and entered into a partnership 
with Mr. Eldad Cook. Fortune now appeared to be 
opening her generous portals to him, whose condi- 
tion hitherto had been migratory and unsettled. 
Dreams of affluence mingled pleasingly with his 
thoughts of the future, and his business enterprise 
at once absorbed his study and contemplation to the 
total exclusion of all religious care. 

Poor, dependent man ! how prone to forget the 
bountiful Donor of every good and perfect gift, if 
but the prospect of wealth dazzle his eager eyes I 
Arrived at a commanding summit, he strains his 
longing vision and peers confidently through the 
vista of hope, but alas ! how often does the summer 
landscape fade, the beautiful lake prove a deceitful 
mirage, and man's anticipation fail to be realized. 

" Why all this toil for triumph of an hour ? 
What though we wade in wealth or soar in fame ? 
Earth's highest station ends in 1 Here he lies ! ' 
And 'dust to dust,' concludes her noblest song." 

In the lapse of one short year, Thomas Stewart 
3* 



30 



LIFE OF 



realized that this was not the location designed by 
the Omniscient for him to occupy. Listening to the 
siren voice of a deluding enemy, by what severe 
lessons are we often compelled to learn our duty ! 
Eecovering from heavy losses sustained through the 
carrying away of a dam by inundation during the 
equinoctial rains of June, and while struggling to 
meet the extra expense incurred, the equinoctial 
clouds of September gathered over the sky, their 
waters flooded the country, and rushing with irre- 
sistible strength against the new embankment, lay 
open a breach irreparably wide, and speedily dashed 
away the sangTiine hopes of the unfortunate firm of 
Stewart and Cook. 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



31 



CHAPTER II. 

CONVERSION AND MANIFESTATION OF ZEAL. 

Settles in Warren — Emigrants — Attends the Presbyterian 

church — Death of Judge A Awakened — Resolves to 

seek God — Conversion — Exhorts — Two souls convicted of sin 
thereby — Religious fervor of Mr. Stewart — Prayer-meeting 
organized — Revival in the court-house — Reflections — Contro- 
versies — Studies. 

In the spring of 1816, we find Mr. Stewart in 
Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio, whither he had 
gone in company with his brother-in-law, Lewis 
Eeeves, to seek employment in " the new countries." 
Mrs. Stewart did not accompany him ; but tarried 
in Bridgeton till the intelligence should be received 
that a dwelling was secured and business prospects 
offered a comfortable home in the West. The 30th 
of April, a letter from her husband announced the 
fact, that all things were now in readiness for her, 
and only awaited her presence to perfect the bliss of 
his home. Speedy preparations were made for an 
exodus. On the 12th of May, a caravan, peculiar to 
those emigrating times, consisting of two heavy 
Conestoga wagons, eight horses, and seventeen indi- 
viduals, departed from Philadelphia, and after a 



32 



LIFE OF 



tedious journey of three weeks, arrived at its desti- 
nation on the Mahoning Kiver, forty miles from 
Lake Erie, eighty miles from Pittsburg. Mrs. Stew- 
art was now the mother of two children ; the older a 
daughter of three years, the younger a son of six 
months. The others of the company were Edward 
Welch, wife, and three children; Stephen Keeves, 
wife, and three sons ; Samuel Elwell and wife ; Tho- 
mas Brown with Mrs. Eeeves, the mother of Mrs. 
Stewart, now a widow nearly sixty years of age. 
After Mr. Stewart's settlement in Warren, he and 
his little family lived in peace and contentment ! it 
is true they were subject to numerous deprivations; 
their remoteness from those loved ones who came 
with them — the want of that refinement in society 
to which they had been accustomed, and the incon- 
venience of their log-house arrangements ; upon all 
they could have desired an improvement, but these 
sacrifices had been anticipated, and they were ready 
to endure the hardships of new settlers, if they 
might avail themselves of the overbalancing advan- 
tages. Land was arable and cheap; each emigrant 
could purchase a small tract, and requiring but little 
not produced by his farm, live economically "be- 
neath his own viae and fig-tree, none daring to 
molest or make him afraid." 

During the first two years, no symptoms of reli- 
gious exercise were exhibited by him who but a 
short time before was so deeply concerned for his 
spiritual welfare. On the Sabbath, he always occu- 
pied a seat among the Presbyterians in public wor- 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



33 



ship, which was held alternately with the Baptist 
congregation in the village court-house, both deno- 
minations, as yet, being too limited in numbers and 
too feeble pecuniarily to venture the erection of a 
church edifice. But the anxiety he once experienced 
had fled, and there was a fearful apathy settled down 
upon his soul. How careful should the sinner, 
awakened to a consciousness of his lamentable con- 
dition, be, lest the Spirit grieved and quenched take 
its ultimate flight, leaving the naked soul alone — 
without God. Mr. Stewart was the more strongly 
attached to the Presbyterians from the fact that his 
wife adhered strenuously and pertinaciously to the 
doctrines of that sect — although he, as stated before, 
was an unwavering convert to Arminianism. 

In the early part of 1819, a fire occurred in 
"Warren. Mr. Stewart went into the street after 
the alarm had been given, and encountering Judge 
A , an infidel, with whom he was familiar, in- 
quired concerning the probable extent of the con- 
flagration. An answer was made, and they stood 
conversing for a few minutes, when the Judge was 
seized with apoplexy, and fell dead at his feet. The 
sudden and terrible cutting off of one, in his pre- 
sence, who, to appearance, was in the enjoyment of 
equally good health with himself, filled his mind 
with serious inquiry and apprehension. Both were 
in "the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity ;" he 

felt himself as guilty as Judge A in the sight of 

Him who held their life in his hand. This circum- 
stance was a convincing proof that God's spirit would 



34 



LIFE OF 



not always strive with man. Despising the Christian 
religion, renouncing the inspiration of the Bible, 
scoffing at holy things, the judge of men had been 
called unexpectedly to stand before a more fearful 
tribunal, and give an unreserved account for the 
deeds done in the body. "He that being often re- 
proved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be de- 
stroyed, and that without remedy;" this and other 
passages of Scripture of similar signification lingered 
in Mr. Stewart's troubled mind, and compelled him 
to consider his own imminent peril, and led him to 
examine his own heart still hapless and unregenerate, 
still grovelling with unsatisfying, earthly pleasures. 
Then he reflected upon God's infinite love, and the 
voluntary suffering of the Saviour; took a retro- 
spective glance over his history, and, perceiving 
that his conduct clamored loudly for an administra- 
tion of God's retributive justice, in that he had con- 
tinually rejected Christ's offers of mercy and pardon, 
"he went out and wept bitterly." 

"God calling yet, and shall I never hearken, 
But with earth's witcheries my spirit darken ? 
This passing life, these passing joys all flying, 
And still my soul in dreamy slumber lying ! 

" God calling yet, and I not yet arising ! 
So long his faithful, loving voice despising ! 
So falsely his unwearied love repaying, 
He beckons still, and still I am delaying ! 

"God calling yet, loud at my door is knocking, 
And I my heart and ear still firmer locking ; 
He yet is willing, ready to receive me, 
Is waiting now, but ah ! he soon may leave me ! 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



35 



M God calling jet, and I no answer giving, 
I dread his joke, jet am in bondage living ; 
For long I linger, but not jet forsaken, 
He calls me still ! Oh, mj poor soul, awaken ! 

"God calling jet ! I can no longer tarrj, 
Nor to mj Lord a heart divided carrj ; 
Oh, vain and empt j world, jour spell is broken, 
Sweeter than all, the voice of God has spoken." 

These stanzas, in connection with the promise and 
encouragements afforded by the word of God, de- 
cided him to humble himself in the shadow of the 
cross, with imploring eyes fixed on its bleeding 
victim until a new and pure heart were vouchsafed. 
Although, having formed some fraternal intimacies 
which made it necessary, he was obliged to pluck 
out a right eye and cut off an arm by this step, yet 
did he willingly sacrifice the associations of those 
whose affections were fixed upon things of the earth, 
in order to win Christ. He commenced to attend 
regularly a young men's prayer meeting, and did 
not refuse to exercise in prayer himself, when called 
upon in this means of grace. His conversion is thus 
recorded in his diary: "I had been diligently seeking 
after ' the light of the liberty of the children of God' 
for several months, when one evening, while upon 
my knees, I thought I would obtain the precious 
blessing before the close of the meeting, if earnest 
effort and powerful faith would prevail at a throne 
of mercy. I remembered the passages, 1 Without 
faith it is impossible to please God,' and 'By grace 
are ye saved through faith, and that not of your- 



36 



LIFE OF 



selves; it is the gift of God,' and then my mind 
reverted to the cheering words of Christ's sermon 
on the mount, 1 Ask and it shall be given you ; seek 
and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened 
unto you ; for every one that asketh, receiveth, and 
he that seeketh, findeth, and to him that knocketh it 
shall be opened,' and I began to plead for the 
requisite faith, and knowing that every one that 
asketh receiveth, I tried to exercise ' the gift of God,' 
and repeating emphatically the lines — 

Thou, Christ, art all I want, 
More than all in thee / find — 

at the same moment reflecting how easy it was for 
an Omnipotent Being to perform any work, no 
matter how difficult, 'the opening heavens around 
me shone with beams of sacred bliss,' and I had not 
the shadow of a doubt that God for Christ's sake 
remitted my transgressions. The evidence from 
that hour, of my adoption into the family of God, 
was direct and indubitable. Oh, bless the Lord for 
his renewing grace ! Praise God for my soul's 
release from the captivity of the devil ! Hallelujah 
to the Lamb which taketh away the sin of the 
world ! 

Oh, the rapturous height 

Of that holy delight 
Which I felt in the life-giving blood ; 

Of my Saviour possessed 

I was perfectly blessed 
As if filled with the fulness of God." 

While rejoicing in the sense of forgiveness, Mrs. 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



37 



Stewart entered the room, and advancing to her 
husband, whispered, "If so happy yourself, why 
don't you exhort these sinners?" Eeceiving this 
collateral license; without trepidation, he instantly 
sprang to his feet, and from a heart warmed by the 
grace of God, and charged with the glory of a new- 
born soul, the words of invitation from his lips, fell 
with power among the people. The Lord was 
manifestly present. The God of Sabbaoth was in 
his first message ; he was a host in himself from the 
very beginning. And here the question arises — if 
every man, from the very day of his conversion, 
would labor as did the example before us, might not 
the world be more speedily evangelized ? Would 
not sinners, seeing that religion is not " a cunningly 
devised fable," but a glorious reality, desire more 
eagerly the life which is "not meat and drink, but 
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost?" Is not the cause of Christianity susceptible 
of more injury, ay, is not the progress of the glorious 
gospel, far more successfully and fatally impeded by 
the conspicuous lukewarmness and inactivity of pro- 
fessing Christians than by all its enemies ? When, 
with unanimous and resolute concurrence, the sons 
of men, becoming convinced of the necessity of uni- 
versal co -labor, come up in solid and irresistible 
phalanx to the help of the Lord against the mighty 
powers of darkness, and exhibit the uniform of God's 
military, the boldness and magnanimity of the chil- 
dren of God, then, and not till then, will the "tidings 
of grace begin to be received into every heart, and 
4 



38 



LIFE OF 



win its joyous, widening way to earth's remotest 
bound." 

Concluding his spiritual salutatory with a familiar 
chorus, commencing': "I wonder why old saints don't 
sing," and actually inquiring in his mind why the 
saints of God remained composed and unconcerned, 
when men and women " without God and without 
hope in the world," were jostling them at every step, 
he began to appeal personally to the sinners present. 
A wealthy and somewhat aristocratic widow was 
awakened from her lethargy of pride and sensuality, 
and induced to turn in with the overtures of mercy, 
and a gentleman who had resorted to this meeting 
more as pastime than with particular desire for profit, 
shook with conviction, and hastily retiring to a dark 
apartment of the house, hid himself from the eye and 
the attack of the young exhorter. Observing this 
movement, which betrayed a mental fear, but too 
much engrossed in pointing the seeking lady to the 
source of all light, Mr. Stewart dispatched a Baptist 
sister, to counsel the unhappy truant religiously, and 
ere a half hour had elapsed, the sentence " God be 
merciful to me a sinner," was heard in the adjoining 
room. 

Mr. Stewart was one of those, who did with his 
might what he found to perform. From the date of 
his powerful conversion, he was characterized by an 
almost unexampled enthusiasm and zeal for the cause 
of Christ. He visited his neighbors and acquaint- 
ances who were unsaved, and besought them by the 
atonement, to be instantly in action, ere they were in 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



39 



the enemy's hand. Inspired with the true apostolic 
spirit, " he went about doing good," and two weeks 
subsequent to the prayer meeting recorded, he at- 
tended the organization of a Methodist class in 
Warren. He was a Methodist "out and out," from 
the moment the peace of God entered his spirit, but, 
through the influence of Mrs. Stewart, who, though 
a liberal Presbyterian, was strongly prejudiced 
against the church of Wesley's institution, he was 
dissuaded from connecting himself with the class. 

Unable to lie supinely on his back, while so much 
was to be done, he summoned a number of the 
brethren together, and said : " I conceive that a work- 
ing laity for these times is as necessary as an effectual 
ministry. Warren is a valley of dry bones. The 
professing Christians for the most part despise the 
cross, and if not aroused to a sense of their duty, and 
induced to discharge it faithfully before God, they 
will be compelled to endure the shame. It is high 
time to awake out of sleep. Some, it is to be appre- 
hended, have never yet tasted the good word of life 
and the heavenly gift, nor been made partakers of 
the Holy Spirit, else how could they stand here all 
the day idle ? They regard sin, it is true, as the 
worst evil, and the fruitful source of every pang of 
sorrow that betides humanity, yet they cannot, oh, 
they cannot enjoy the life and power of godliness ! 
Are they then a peculiar people, zealous of good 
works ? Are they a holy people? My Bible informs 
me that God requires such votaries : 'Without holi- 
ness none shall see the Lord.' Is not the state of 



40 



LIFE OF 



those professors who entertain the form bat deny the 
power, worse than the first ? Oh, my brethren, let 
us be up and doing ! let us work while it is called 
to-day, because the night cometh, and that right 
speedily, when no man shall work." 

This address resulted in the organization of a 
prayer meeting, which increased in interest and 
numbers, until scarcely a private house could be 
obtained that would afford comfortable accommoda- 
tions to the people who congregated, anxious for a 
revival of pure and undefiled religion among them. 
Although Mr. Stewart's efforts were exercised chiefly 
for the spiritual benefit of the Presbyterians, yet 
was his heart enlarged toward all the children of 
God by whatever name they were distinguished ; or 
if they claimed no name, wherever the bound of 
their habitation were fixed. Eventually, for greater 
convenience, the meetings of which he was conductor 
were carried to the court-house, and thither the 
pastors of both congregations were soon attracted. 
In this place, "there came a sound as of a rushing 
mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they 
were sitting." Christians were built up in their most 
holy faith, and nearly two hundred souls professed 
to find "the pearl of great price" in a few weeks, 
and connected themselves with the various sects who 
still continued to assemble statedly in the spacious 
public edifice. During the day, sinners were here 
convicted or acquitted according as the imperfect 
judgment of human intellect designated; during the 
evening, sinners were pardoned, without regard to 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 41 

the multitude or magnitude of their crimes, on con- 
dition that their future service be given Him against 
whom the offences had been committed. And now 
professors generally began to comprehend the vitality 
of religion, and its experimental operations on the 
heart. The joy which Mr. Stewart experienced, at 
and subsequent to his conversion, was too profound 
and permanent to admit of a single doubt as to the 
genuineness of the work. The change in his desires, 
and the character of his impulses and emotions were 
unmistakable evidences that he had "passed from 
death unto life." These could not be the effect of 
merely natural causes. His peace was that which 
"passeth understanding;" his "joy unspeakable and 
full of glory." The inclination of his nature was 
thoroughly transformed. He loved, served, and 
endeavored to edify God's spiritual kingdom, because 
he felt that Christ had lived and died to prove the 
value of his immortal soul. He abhorred sin, be- 
cause it had been the prolific seed of death, and all 
our woe, and he loved Jesus Christ, because he con- 
descended to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows, 
by receiving the chastisement of our peace, and 
healing us by his stripes. He saw the Son of God 
humbled that he might be exalted; impoverished 
that he might be enriched; bound that he might be 
liberated from the thraldom of sin; punished that 
he might be spared ; cursed that he might be blessed ; 
despised and trodden under foot of men that he 
might be exalted "to an inheritance incorruptible, 
undeflled, and that fadeth not away;" condemned to 

4* 



42 



LIFE OF 



die the most shameful death, that he might live for- 
ever. He would pause in the midst of his secular 
occupation and think "upon these things, until lost in 
wonder, love, and praise, at the numerous and great 
mercies of God to one so totally meritless of the 
least token of his divine regard. He saw mercies 
borne to the thankless inhabitants of earth on every 
moment of time, and he prayed that they might, at 
least from his individual case, convey the welcome 
intelligence to Heaven of soul and body presented 
a living sacrifice to the giver of all good ; which he 
understood by Paul's epistle to the Eomans was but 
a "reasonable service." When abroad in the green 
fields and verdure-clad forests, all things in the 
miracles of nature, declared the hand that made them 
was divine. He saw that no power save that of 
Omnipotence could "cover the earth with grass for 
the cattle, and herbs for the service of man he was 
convinced that the gigantic trees bowed their heads 
alone in subjection to "him that walketh upon the 
wings of the wind ;" and all conspired to enforce 
and demonstrate conclusively, the holy inspiration 
and origin of the Bible. In contemplation of him- 
self, he felt that man was the crowning piece of God's 
architecture! He was convinced of this, from his 
superior endowments, by his capacity for intellectual 
attainment, and above all, by the infinite price of his 
redemption! 

Is it not strange that men, comprehending the 
theory of astronomy, with its wonderful arrange- 
ment of solar system and siderial territories; sitting, 



KEY. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



43 



as it were, above the planets, measuring the magni- 
tude of the stars, and explaining all phenomena con- 
nected with our earth, with consistent argument; is 
it not strange that such philosophers discover in the 
economy of this sublime structure, a tract of imper- 
fection upon which to base a single doubt of the 
supreme and eternal existence of a great creative 
Power ? 

Mr. Stewart studiously viewed the works of crea- 
tion and redemption, and they stood palpably before 
his mind's eye, as wonders peculiar to the power of 
God. There was an obviously inseparable affinity 
between them ; and he felt that in redemption was a 
greater expression of God's love to man, than in all 
the other manifestations of his regard which had 
ever been, or ever could be, made to the world. In 
reflecting upon the language of the Apostle John, it 
seemed evident that one soul outweighed in value 
the vastness of creation: "In this was manifested 
the love of God toward us, because that God sent 
his only begotten Son into the world, that we might 
have life through him." Moreover, every day's 
observation proved " the carnal mind enmity against 
God," and not subject to the law of God, whose love 
had been so wonderfully manifested to fallen man. 
This rilled him with solicitude for the dying multi- 
tude around him, particularly as he read in connec- 
tion with it, " If ye live after the flesh ye shall die ; 
but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of 
the body, ye shall live : For as many as are led by 
the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God : And 



44 



LIFE OF 



if children, then heirs ; heirs of God and joint heirs 
with Jesus Christ." Kejoicing in happy possession 
of the earnest of that weight of glory which is to be 
more exceeding and eternal, Mr. Stewart could not 
mingle with those who were not thus blessed, and 
continue silent on the all important subject. His 
soul went out in strong desire for the very beggars 
whom he encountered in the street, and he was sure 
to drop a word for Christ in the heart, as he deposited 
a mite in the hand of indigence. Wherever he tra- 
velled, salvation through the Crucified began to 
be the all absorbing theme. He controverted the 
Baptist clergy concerning "immersion," and the 
Presbyterian concerning " election," in the spirit of 
love ; urging his conviction that neither was in any 
way calculated to promote the salvation of souls, and 
that through the inspiration of the Spirit he was led 
to declare a free pardon to all who would seek for 
it in simple faith in Christ. At length the discussion 
on predestination became general ; a number of the 
brethren of the respective creeds joined, and a search- 
ing of the Scriptures, such as resulted in benefit to 
all who engaged therein, ensued. The principal 
argument which the Arminian fraternity adduced 
was this: "The Holy Spirit shows all unforgiven 
men that they are in jeopardy every hour. The 
elect must be saved, and consequently cannot be in 
peril. Therefore, the Holy Ghost must teach falsely, 
which is incompatible with his character." 

This controversy resulted in the renunciation of 
unconditional election by Kev. Adam Bentley, pastor 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWAKT. 



45 



of the Baptist church, and one hundred and twenty-five 
of his parishioners. Mr. Stewart, who possessed 
some natural logical abilities and acuteness, a good 
command of language, and enjoyed a spirited debate, 
was in an agreeable element among these redoubtable 
polemics. He was impatient to reply to his opponent, 
and each response to his remarks only served to 
elicit a settling rejoinder. In his journal concerning 
this, he writes: — • 

" I enjoyed the controversy vastly. Every attempt 
of the Calvinists to support election, established me 
more firmly in my own opinions. To these examina- 
tions of Scripture import, in Warren, I am indebted 
measurably for much early light upon many abstruse 
passages of the Bible." When he encountered a 
problematical sentence in the Old or New Testament, 
he labored over it with as much zeal, as with the 
stumps in his clearing-land, and never ceased grap- 
pling, nntil they were made plain before him and 
stored carefully away in the treasury of his own 
mind. He was no less active in his labors than in 
his studies. He was unsurpassed in promptness of 
action and ardency of performance. Like Peter and 
Andrew, he straightway left his temporal engagements 
and following the Saviour willingly, was ever ready 
to do his needy fellow- creatures the good that lay in 
his power. Though, during several years which 
followed, he continued to labor in the factory, and 
upon his little tract of ground, yet was the image of 
the blessed Eedeemer ever before his eyes; his 
predominant desire was the salvation of mankind, 



46 



LIFE OF 



and to this glorious end was lie always prepared to 
lay down his mechanical or agricultural implements 
and sound the trump of alarm among the sleeping 
inhabitants of Nineveh. In the stanzas of Mont- 
gomery he was wont to sing : — 

" Come to Calvary's holy mountain, 

Sinners ruined by the fall ; 
Here a pure and healing fountain 

Flows to every thirsty soul ; 
In a full perpetual tide, 
Opened when the Saviour died. 

" Come in sorrow and contrition, 
Wounded, impotent, and blind ; 
Here the guilty free remission, 
Here the lost a refuge find ; 
Health this fountain will restore, 
He that drinks need thirst no more." 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



47 



CHAPTER III. 

FROM HIS FIRST SPEAKING IN PUBLIC TILL 
APPOINTED CLASS-LEADER. 

Invited to preach — Goes to camp-meeting at Brace ville — Dis- 
satisfied among the Presbyterians — Takes Mrs. Stewart to 
Smithfield camp-meeting — Exhorts on a stump — They connect 
themselves with the Methodists — Advice of Joseph Curtis — 
Scheme to increase their numbers — Extract from journal — 
Ballast — Pleasing God. 

A few months after Mr. Stewart's conversion, he 
was solicited to go into the country, a few miles 
distant, and preach. Securing a verbal privilege 
from the authorities of the church, he went forth to 
discharge that which he deemed was his duty, and 
in the dwelling-house of Mr. Abram Anderson, in 
Trumbull County, Ohio, he preached his first sermon 
from — "He now commandeth all men everywhere 
to repent." Mr. Anderson, four sons, and eighteen 
individuals who had gathered from the vicinity, 
dated their conviction of sin from that discourse. 
In May of 1821, Mr. Stewart attended a camp- 
meeting near Braceville, where he listened to able 
and powerful sermons from Bevs. Alfred Bronson, 
William Sweyzey, and James McMahn. The zeal, 



48 



LIFE OF 



faith, and vigorous effort, everywhere in exercise, 
were the manifestations of earnestness and sincerity 
that attracted his attention, and riveted his sympathies 
to the Methodists. These religious exertions were 
followed by exhibitions of God's favor and power : 
the spirit of Christ was abundantly poured out upon 
the people, and scores of new-born souls, rejoiced with 
scores of Christians, recently cleansed from all sin by 
the blessing of sanctification. 

Upon his return to Warren, he declared his dis- 
content in remaining among the Presbyterians, to 
Mrs. Stewart; but before proceeding to take any 
step, he invited his wife to accompany him to a 
second meeting, which was to be held during the 
following August. Mrs. Stewart had requested her 
husband to remain with the Presbyterians one year; 
assuring him if dissatisfied at its termination, that 
she would go with him and attach herself to Method- 
ism and its interests. She consented to go to the 
camp-meeting. After a week had been passed in 
the beautiful grove, the morning of the adjournment 
arrived. Mr. Stewart had been heartily engaged 
from the commencement to the close of the meeting ; 
singing, praying, and exhorting in unwearied labors 
for the conversion of sinners. His face beamed with 
a light almost unearthly, his eyes sparkled with holy 
brilliancy, and he scarcely seemed conscious of 
presence in or absence from the body. The dawn 
of Saturday was clear, warm, and beautiful. The 
spot in which the tents were pitched, was one of 
those fine oak wood forests, peculiar to Ohio. Ma- 



BEY. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



49 



jestic trees, whose gigantic and interwoven limbs 
defended from the blinding rays of the summer sun, 
like an outspread canopy, stood as great friendly 
sentinels in close proximity. The white tents, in 
pure contrast with the thick verdure, the soft wind 
sighing among the branches, and the sweet place, 
vocal with the music of joyous birds, added to the 
interest and solemnity, breathed from every glad soul 
exulting: in the saving; grace of a living," Saviour. 

A deep stream of clear, cold, exhilarating water 
was adjacent, along which were clusters of wild 
grape-vines, and whose banks were redolent of the 
perfume of many flowers. The last sermon had been 
delivered, the last opportunity for the return of 
prodigals offered, and preparations for departure 
were being- made. The last echo of the long; horn 
had died away among the hills, and the parting hand 
must now be extended to those ministers whose 
burning words had cheered the faint, encouraged 
the weak, edified the strong, and besought the erring 
to return. With moistened eyes, the local and 
itinerant preachers ranged themselves in a double 
line, in front of "the stand," and the weeping sisters 
and sad brethren passed between, receiving a final 
blessing;. Onlv those who have witnessed this solemn 
performance at the breaking up of a camp-meeting, 
can imagine the sadness and reluctance with which 

o 

it is attended. The very inanimate objects around 
you, with whose figures and appearance you have 
become familiar, seem to assume the look of regret, 
and the waving branches above seem to sigh a 

5 



50 



LIFE OF 



mournful adieu to the departing. Not unfrequently, 
sobs are heard escaping from a sister recently emerged 
from nature's darkness, as she feels the friendly 
pressure of that hand which has led her to the altar 
of prayer, where spiritual light first dawned upon 
the soul; then a shout of "Glory to God!" from an 
aged brother whose weakening tones suggest the 
thought, that before another similar privilege is 
afforded, he may see Jesus whom he has tried to 
follow in lowliness of heart for many, many years. 
Finally, perhaps, a unanimous " Hallelujah !" makes 
the forest aisles echo and the hills reverberate; 
nature verily seeming to unite in the shout with 
willing and glad concurrence, as the body proceeds 
to wend around the circle in front of the tents, 
"lustily singing" the good old chorus: — 

" We '11 march around Jerusalem 
When we arrive at home." 

These final proceedings were unusually impressive 
upon the occasion of Mrs. Stewart's presence at 
Smithfield. To her liberal mind, now that prejudice 
was dethroned, the novelty was interesting, the fervor 
admirable, and the whole scene devotional. As she 
stood at the entrance of one of the tents, looking 
upon the spectacle described, now smiling at some 
odd ejaculation of pious rapture, anon dropping a 
sympathetic tear with those who were separating, 
her attention was drawn to a spot in a remote section 
of the ground where a crowd had congregated around 
a speaker. She advanced to discover the cause of 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



51 



the excitement and learn the subject which was of so 
much interest at that late hour. Imagine her surprise 
when she perceived her arduous spouse, elevated 
upon a stump, exhorting the lost sheep of the house 
of Israel, with emphasis and almost vehemence, to 
return now, to the Shepherd and Bishop of their 
souls, lest another opportunity might never favor 
them. Satan suggested " impropriety," and she was 
inclined to steal up behind him, twitch his coat, and 
subject him to censure, but calmly regarding him a 
moment, she seated herself upon a rustic bench and 
responded "Amen" to every sentiment uttered by 
his truth-inspired lips. A score, moved by the 
graphic portraits of a blissful heaven and a burning 
hell, painted in the glowing language of the animated 
exhorter, " fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope 
set before them." 

While thus engaged, an instrument in the hands 
of God of turning many to repentance, such excla- 
mations as the following were heard among the 
crowd, composing his miscellaneous audience: " That 
young Stewart is an extraordinary man!" "Of 
limited education, but possessing a sharp penetration 
of mind and a keen comprehension of human na- 
ture." " A detached, but really vivid and eloquent 
delineation of Heaven !" "He seems to speak with- 
out thought !" "Listen to that picture of Emmaus!" 
"Now he is with the thief on the cross! See the 
effect upon the people, they are crying for mercy ! " 
"Power and conviction attend his words!" 



52 



LIFE OF 



He quotes from Watts : — 

" Oil, for this love let rocks and hills 
Their lasting silence break, 
And all harmonious human tongues 
The Saviour's praises speak." 

" Not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but 
in demonstration of the Spirit and with power," did 
Mr. Stewart thus exhibit the indubitable foreshadow- 
ing of great usefulness. 

" Thomas, you are no Presbyterian, I release you 
from my claim upon you as such," was his wife's 
salutation as she grasped his hand after the exhorta- 
tion ; " unite with this excellent sect, so alive to the 
eternal interests of their friends; and if the great 
Head of the church have pulpit labor for you, I'll 
strive to hold up your hands. Wherever you go, 
by the grace of God strengthening me, I'll accom- 
pany you." Eepairing to Eev. Joseph Curtis, the 
pastor of the body with which his name was enroll- 
ed, Mr. Stewart asked a written transfer to the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. Not surprised at this 
anticipated demand, Mr. Curtis wrote the certificate, 
and delivering it, gave the recipient wise and salu- 
tary counsel, which was treasured through twenty 
years of his after life. 

" You have bravely and honestly defended your 
creed," said that good man ; "still more firmly arm 
yourself with the panoply of God in defence of his 
glorious kingdom. Take the breastplate of right- 
eousness, have your feet shod with the preparation 
of the gospel of peace, above all take the shield of 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



53 



faith wherewith you shall be able to quench all the 
fiery darts of the wicked. I rejoice in the know- 
ledge that your desires are after a larger measure of 
the Holy Spirit; watch and pray lest you enter into 
temptation. Never stop to argue with the Devil ; 
recollect you are very near him, when it is possible 
to converse, and he never flees till resisted ! Part 
with your heart's blood rather than that zeal for 
which you are already characterized. May God's 
blessing attend you and his omnipotence support 
you in every effort for the advancement of the cause 
of Christ, and in every trial sent for the test of your 
faith. Let me hear how you dispose of yourself. 
Please inform Mrs. Stewart that I shall be ready to 
present a similar scrip to her upon appeal!" 

Conscious of her confirmed Calvinistic faith, the 
reverend gentleman had repeated the last sentence 
slowly and in a tone which savored of irony; betray- 
ing no disrespect or ill feeling, however. Conceive 
of his blank astonishment, when, the following day, 
Mrs. Stewart presented herself before him, " appeal- 
ing for a similar scrip." 

In eighteen months, the Methodists in Warren 
had only increased their membership by seven 
names, making a total of seventeen, but this, con- 
sidering the almost irresistible current of opposing 
influence, was well ! There still continued to exist 
a strong prejudice against them, greatly obstructing 
their advancement and usefulness. They were de- 
spised and ridiculed on account of their "clamor," 
and excitable propensities in worship. They were 

5* 




54 



LIFE OF 



represented as "a poverty-stricken sect," and this, it 
was alleged, could never be improved; because if a 
rich, man joined them, the traveling preachers soon 
" eat him out of house and home." Irreputable and 
feeble as this denomination was, Mr. and Mrs. Stew- 
art gave their hand, heart, and life, voluntarily to its 
interests, and lifting their voices to Jeshurun's God, 
they prayed and wrestled mightily for the speedy 
visitation of the Holy Spirit among the people, that 
their numbers might be enlarged by hundreds of 
the thoroughly converted, who should adorn the 
doctrines of their profession and be eternally saved. 
A number of these despised Wesleyans assembled 
and concerted a plan by which wanderers might "be 
brought in from the highways and hedges and com- 
pelled to take of the supper," spread by the Saviour 
for all who come unto God by Him. They resolved 
to single out an irreligious individual of the com- 
munity, and with united heart and unswerving faith, 
appeal to a throne of mercy in his behalf. The 
kingdom of heaven, which "suffereth violence," was 
in the present instance submissive to force ; each 
and every man and woman thus designated and 
borne up on the wings of faith, was speedily rescued 
from the net of the evil one and brought to a saving 
knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. 
Conversing on their manner of operation in multi- 
plying their forces and strengthening their stakes, 
Mrs. Stewart one evening informed a young man 
with whom she was intimately acquainted, that he 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



55 



was selected as the next subject. He was strictly 
moral in his character, but disposed to be somewhat 
sacrilegious. He consented, however, to this pious 
solicitude and earnest labor in his behalf, but ex- 
pressed a fear that success in his case was doubtful. 
" With God all things are possible." Although this 
man had lived twenty-eight years in sinfulness, in 
less than a fortnight, he was happily converted to 
God, and subsequently appointed class leader. Thus 
did the little band unite and work in the vineyard 
of the Lord. And by these instruments, though of 
moderate literary attainments and slight education, 
did God speed the glorious Christian reformation in 
Warren, despite the stubborn barriers against which 
they had to contend. 

Mr. Stewart's journal of this date, runs: "I have 
joined the Methodists; I feel they are a help to me 
and I am determined to strive to help them. If any 
people upon earth, they are, assuredly, 'God's hus- 
bandry' — they are 'laborers together with God.' 
Methodism is Christianity in earnest. Its advocates 
are Bible saints; the people spoken of by Malachi, 
1 who fear the Lord and speak often one to another 
and keep a book of remembrance for them that 
think upon God's name.' Is not this like to our 
blessed means of grace, the class-meeting; where 
' the strong bear the infirmities of the weak' — assist- 
ing by personal experience and aiding by appro- 
priate advice? This church is an honor to me, I 
feel exalted by my connection with it. 



56 



LIFE OF 



" Help us to help each other, Lord, 
Each other's cross to bear ; 
Let each his friendly aid afford 
And feel his brother's care. 

" Help us to' build each other up, 
Our little stock improve, 
Increase our faith, confirm our hope, 
And perfect us in love. 

"I carry high sail sometimes, consequently am in 
more imminent danger of capsizing. I also en- 
counter trials, these serve me as ballast/ Occasionally 
I get on 1 enchanted ground.' 'God, save me from 
lying on the sofa of inactivity and falling asleep in 
the arbor!'" 

Trials as ballast ! How much greater advancement 
might be made in divine life, were Christians gene- 
rally thus to receive them ! Instead of subsiding 
into gloom and despondency when adversity or 
affliction falls upon the child of God, how much 
better to remember that " in the world ye shall have 
tribulation, but in Christ peace ;" and the kind re- 
quest, "cast all your care upon him, for he careth for 
you," and improve by trial, even as He " who was 
wounded for our transgressions," became "perfect 
through suffering." 

There is nothing perhaps more displeasing to God 
than for his professed followers to misimprove by 
providences; nothing more gratifying than "prayer 
without ceasing and in all things thanksgiving." It 
is a privilege to live, seeing we have, in the noble 
object of pleasing God, something worth living for. 
It is sometimes the case that individuals are deprived 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



57 



of the principal objects of their affection : those for 
whom they lived. They feel as if their work had 
been suddenly taken out of their hands ; they have 
nothing to occupy their thoughts, engage their affec- 
tions, or enlist their energies. They are most un- 
happy. But let them give themselves unreservedly 
to God, and at once the scene changes ; all is bright 
and blessed. They have occupation enough for their 
active minds, objects enough in their newly found 
Father and all his dear children for their warmest 
affections, and room enough for all their energies. 
There are no more dull days for them now! no more 
twilight hours, spent in pensive musings ! no more 
time lost in pitying self and nourishing grief. New 
courage is breathed into the soul; new hopes, new 
desires! The joy of the Lord is their strength; the 
double joy of loving God and believing his love in 
return. It is as if one who before dragged heavily 
along, had suddenly found wings ! In making it the 
one great object of life to please God, something 
satisfactory is found ! 

Jesus, I bless thy gracious power, 
And all within me shouts thy name ; 

Thy name let every soul adore, 

Thy power let every tongue proclaim ! 

Thy grace let every sinner know, 

And find in thee their heaven below. 



58 



LIFE OF 



CHAPTER IV. 

LABOKS IN OHIO. 

Mr. McMalm preaches from "the word of the Devil" — A good 
congregation — Rev. Dennis Goddard — Sketches from Mr. Stew- 
art's diary — His class at Weathersfield — Precept and example 
— Studies — Gifts and graces — Attack against his character — 
His labors not in vain — Government of children — Anecdote — 
Mr. Stewart removes to Windsor — Troubles — Triumphs — 
Visits Burlington — Mrs. Stewart at Mr. Hall's — Parkman — 
Return to New Jersey — Anecdote. 

The Methodist congregation in Warren, at this 
time, was exceedingly small, but few outside of the 
limited membership condescending to patronize the 
little band. Those who came were principally actu- 
ated by motives of curiosity u to see some shouting 
done," or circulate exaggerated reports of "the cant 
and gymnastics." The charge had been adopted by 
the Youngstown Circuit, and it had been made a 
regular two weeks' preaching appointment, still no 
unusual interest was shown, either by the professing 
or non-professing portion of the community. Had 
not the handful of its adherents been of the most 
persevering, hopeful, energetic character, the heart 
of Rev. James McMahn, the preacher in charge of 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



59 



the circuit, must have become discouraged. Observ- 
ing the implicit, unswerving faith of the little flock, 
he continued to appear statedly and expound the 
word of God, with the ability which God gave, to an 
eager and soul-thirsty people. At the dismission of 
one of these meetings, Mr. McMahn, indulging the 
hope that novelty would attract a class whom sub- 
stantial, ordinary sermonizing failed to convene, 
made the following enunciation: "Since the trans- 
gressors of this vicinity refuse to assemble within 
these precincts to hear me preach from the word of 
God, I will discourse upon my succeeding visit to 
this town, from the words of the Devil." Four 
weeks subsequently, the court-house was crowded 
to repletion, and Mr. McMahn, making his way with 
some difficulty through the aisle, ascended the plat- 
form, and, after a feeling and eloquent prayer, an- 
nounced, as a text, the words of the tempter to Eve 
in the garden of Paradise, " Thou shalt not surely 
die." The sermon was an able one. The speaker 
always abounding in striking comparison and sub- 
lime imagery, enlisted the mute attention of his 
audience, and carried with him its almost breathless 
sympathies. Waxing earnest, his heart's aspirations 
went out in glowing language, and touching senti- 
ments, especially adapted for the young in his pre- 
sence. He portrayed the cunning and subtility of 
the father of lies, and appealed to those far from 
God by wicked works for an individual response to 
this question: as often as convicted of natural cor- 
ruption and condemning depravity, w T hen almost 



60 



LIFE OF 



persuaded to surrender your weapons of rebellion 
and battle against the reign of the Lord of Glory no 
more, have you not been advised by a soft, flattering 
voice to postpone a life of allegiance to the Ee- 
deemer, and a preparation for an eternal residence 
with, his glorified worshippers — and been assured of 
a sufficient allotment of time for spiritual enjoyment 
after the trial of sinful pleasures for a season? In 
this, is involved the fatal sentiment that robbed the 
world of happiness, destroyed man's blissful content, 
and endowed him with susceptibility of sin. "Thou 
shalt not surely die ! " 

Mr. McMahn's address, delivery, gesticulation, and 
sermon, were the subject of conversation by all classes 
during the next month, and subsequently he never 
failed to have large and respectable congregations. 

Eev. Dennis Goddard was his successor. Although 
advanced in years, he was a stirring and active 
laborer in the vineyard of his master. He had 
"borne the burden and heat of the day," and now, in 
life's evening, with uncomplaining industry, chose 
to retain his position on the walls of Zion and sound 
his long-cherished gospel trump. The theme of every 
sermon was Christ Jesus and him crucified, and he 
could not feel contentment in his heart while there 
was a single soldier attached to Immanuel's army 
who was not employed in active service. Mr. 
Stewart formed a just estimate of Mr. Goddard 's 
moral and intellectual worth, and reverenced him 
as a father. From this venerable man, he learned 
much of the economy and administration of Method- 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 61 

ism, and received from his lips many lessons of truth 
and wisdom, which he never forgot. To the end of 
his life, he was accustomed to speak of him with 
esteem and affection. His diary here says : " That 
man of constant and unremitting action, Mr. God- 
dard, has established a class at Weathersfleld, and 
commissioned me to preside over it. This responsi- 
bility seems almost too great for one of my inexperi- 
ence and inability. Oh, I feel my own ignorance 
and sinfulness most sensibly, but I repose in him 
whose life was one of wisdom and whose name was 
' Salvation.' 

" Plenteous grace with thee is found, 
Grace to cover all my sin ; 
Let the healing streams abound, 
Make and keep me pure within. 

"I cannot arise in my own strength to counsel, 
advise, and administer reproof; there are yet many 
heights and depths of the divine life for me to 
explore. Oh, that I may be aided from on high in 
all my efforts to discharge my religious duties !" To 
this field of labor, which was distant five miles, Mr. 
Stewart invariably walked, sometimes accompanied 
by his wife, and occasionally by one or more of the 
brethren and sisters of Warren. When thus escorted, 
he returned after leading his class ; when alone, the 
kind friends prevailed on him to remain till morning, 
lest the wolves, which abounded in the woods through 
which he had to pass, fall upon and devour him. 
There were fifteen names upon his class-book. Al- 
though for the most part a united and sincere 

6 



62 



LIFE OF 



company, who earnestly sought to walk in the light 
of holiness, and emulate the great Exemplar, Mr. 
Stewart was occasionally called upon to arbitrate 
between parties, disputing upon matters of trivial 
importance. At one time, he was apprehensive that 
a misunderstanding between two of the sisters would 
result in the disbanding of this little society. Five 
of the class refused to attend, and requested the 
withdrawal of their names. With commendable 
judgment and perseverance, their leader, zealous for 
the cause of Christ, went from one to the other in 
the spirit of love, beseeching the offended " to bear 
the infirmities of the weak," and not strive altogether 
"to please themselves," and quoting St. Paul to the 
Komans : " Let every one of us please his neighbor 
for his good to edification," and, in the language of 
the apostle, exhorting them to be " likeminded, 
having the same love, being of one accord, of one 
mind ; in lowliness of mind each esteeming other 
better than themselves." The spirit of the good 
leader was rejoiced to find his subordinates tractable 
and consistent ; obtaining a promise from each indi- 
vidual connected with the unpleasant occurrence, 
that he would forget and forgive. Mr. Stewart 
continued to appear punctually in TVeathersfield 
on the evening appointed, and he had the satisfaction 
of again beholding the estranged parties knit together 
in the closest and warmest bonds of genuine, for- 
bearing, Christian affection. What may not perse- 
verance and love, united with the fervent, effectual 
prayer of faith, achieve ? In a little village called 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



63 



Salt Springs, to which Mr. Stewart was deputed by the 
higher authority of the church, many spirits became 
the subjects of religious influence, and were brought 
to " a saving knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ 
Jesus." And thus did this man of God strive to be 
useful in every possible way, until licensed to exhort 
in the year 1822 by Eev. Charles Elliott, preacher 
in charge of Mahoning Circuit. Then commenced 
a series of labors equivalent to that of many itine- 
rants of the present time. After being employed all 
or part of the day in discharge of the onerous toils 
of spindle and loom, he was accustomed to pass 
several hours in visiting, conversing, encouraging, 
instructing in divine things, exhorting to increased 
diligence, warning of conformity to the world, and 
insisting on the necessity of Christians seeking that 
holiness of heart or undivided consecration of self, 
" without which none shall see the Lord." He 
endeavored also to teach by a wholesome example 
as well as precept, the true way of life, strove assidu- 
ously to let his light shine before men and exhibit 
to their view an example of unfeigned piety and 
virtue. He was unhappy if it were possible to 
retrospect a day in which he had not essayed to 
advance the interests of the spiritual kingdom esta- 
blished by Christ. In public and in private, at 
home and abroad, he ceased not to place before his 
eyes this, the most important of all designs. What- 
ever embarrassment Mr. Stewart had labored under 
for lack of educational opportunities previously, he 
now was favored ; for the fortunate day in which it 



64 



LIFE OF 



might literally be declared, " of making many books 
there is no end," was dawning; literature of all 
classes was cheapening, and the standard of education 
was rising. His resources were improving and he 
had time which could be devoted to study. He did 
not, however, aspire to the position of a scholar, 
much less to assume the air and superior conversa- 
tions of such, but to possess some actual knowledge, 
to acquire some ennobling sentiments that his mind 
might feed upon and grow stronger. He made it a 
rule to place in his coat-pocket a volume, when 
setting off to fill an appointment a few miles away, 
and committed its contents to memory as he plodded 
over the fields or through the forests. He gave 
earnest attention to the English language, made 
himself acquainted with grammar, and was careful 
to correct his pronunciation or misapplication of 
words. The keenness of his perception, and tenacity 
of his memory were surprising, and the wonderful 
facility with which he acquired Biblical lore and 
commanded appropriate passages was a still greater 
source of astonishment. In exhortation he was 
plain, pointed, and practical; he paid but little 
regard to popular or admired styles, but spoke, 
trusting in divine direction, as moved by the Holy 
Ghost. He made known his requests in prayer as the 
Spirit gave him utterance, and while he supplicated 
a Throne of grace with the spirit, he possessed the 
understanding also. His words flowed spontaneously 
and without premeditation, yet were well adapted 
to the occasion. While he was daily growing in 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 65 

grace and in the knowledge of the truth, while his 
sole object in living, was the honor and glory of his 
Creator and Eedeemer, he was suddenly plunged 
into one of those fearful ordeals, through which the 
saints of God are frequently called to pass, but from 
which, if resolute in maintaining Christian integrity, 
and constant in waiting upon the Author of faith, 
they invariably emerge like gold purified in the 
furnace. 

A charge was preferred against him by a brother 
for improper conduct in a private house, in which 
he had held a meeting the same evening of the 
alleged impropriety. The accusation was false, as 
the adversary could assist the accuser to concoct, 
and so ridiculously absurd and in such palpable 
antagonism to Mr. Stewart's exalted reputation, that 
he scarcely deigned to listen to the rumor which 
reached his ears. 

The enviable height of the pedestal upon which 
he stood, however, incited a party to attempt its 
demolition. Such vicious attacks, aiming at the 
root of a man's religious character, designed to 
extinguish his usefulness, impede his spiritual pro- 
gress, and clog the wheels of Christianity, though 
failing to accomplish the result intended, sometimes 
to a certain extent, sully the fair name of the victim, 
blemish his reputation and cause a degree of mortifi- 
cation which discourages the guiltless heart, and 
perhaps induces despair of the ultimate good, which, 
under other circumstances, he hoped to have been 
instrumental in performing. In the present case it 

6* 



66 



LIFE OF 



was not so. Although Mr. Stewart's spirits were 
depressed by the malignant attack, the sin of the 
■unconscionable perpetrators weighed more heavily 
upon him than the fear of stigma that might attach 
to himself. He continued to pursue the even tenor 
of his way, like the Hebrews in the fire, unscathed 
by the consuming element. His congregations in- 
creased, his faith in Abram's God was strengthened, 
and his wholesome influence was unabated. It was 
not an uncommon thing for him to superintend a 
meeting of some description each night in the month, 
and upon these occasions, he would frequently sing, 
pray, and exhort, till articulation in an audible tone 
was impracticable. The result of these abundant 
labors was a presentation of ten or twelve proba- 
tioners to the pastor at every periodical visitation. 
What was the secret of his success ? He lived in 
the spirit of prayer ; whatever employments engaged 
his attention, this spirit was manifested through them 
all. When journeying to the small settlements, 
contiguous to Warren, for the purpose of holding 
meetings, he set out not to see if God would pour 
out a blessing and display his pleasure and power 
in the conviction and conversion of sinners, but 
expecting the uninterrupted presence of Deity, and 
assured by his faith in God that a revival of pure 
and undefiled religion would positively be witnessed 
in these places. He "held the mystery of faith in a 
pure conscience." He constantly stirred up the 
pure minds of his brethren to remember that the 
word preached would not profit, unless mixed with 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



67 



faith in them that heard it, and assured them by the 
affirmation of Peter, that " the prayer of faith should 
save any who have committed sins so that they be 
forgiven him." He still pursued his daily avocation, 
anticipated every necessity of her who blest his 
humble dwelling with her encouraging smiles, and 
loved and watched over his tender offspring with 
all the kindling affection of the paternal heart. In 
the exercise of parental discipline he depended on 
the efficacy of appeals to sense of right and wrong, 
employed persuasion rather than rigorous measures 
with his children, endeavored with unwearying 
assiduity to counteract the sinful propensities of 
their natures and cultivate their amiable traits. 
Upon one occasion, after an aggravated offence of 
his son James, a lad of about ten years, he deemed 
the punishment of the rod necessary for his benefit 
and reformation. He procured the instrument but 
could not perform the act of flagellation. Approach- 
ing his wife he whispered: "If you can use this 
article which I hold in my hand, I hope you will do 
it, I can only plead with the rebellious, I cannot 
make it my province to punish." With similar 
emotions, the sinners around him were regarded. 
He saw them exposed to the wrath of a justly 
offended Father, and he could not restrain importu- 
ning them by the mercies of God, "to give their 
wanderings o'er." His plan of government proved 
superior ; his heart was overjoyed to see the family 
with which God had blessed him, early bow in 
humble contrition at the feet of Jesus Christ, and 



68 



LIFE OF 



made to exult in evidence of pardon through his 
cleansing blood. 

Were a proper line of conduct pursued in the 
discipline and education of children, how few profli- 
gate sons and daughters, how few broken-hearted 
parents would be found. Neglect of early religious 
training, connected with affectionate restraint, is 
doubtless the ruin of millions. Many parents are too 
authoritative and severe in their mode of exacting 
obedience, while others rush into the extreme of 
foolish fondness, in reality maintaining no govern- 
ment at all. In the former case, home becomes the 
object of dislike; in the latter, the half-grown man 
is seen to usurp the authority of the parent, and 
treat his power with as little respect as if its mandates 
were unimportant as the wind that murmurs in the 
grove or plays sportively on the rippling waters. 
" It is not parental fondness nor parental authority 
taken separately that can produce a beneficial effect. 
A father may be as fond of his children as it is 
possible for him to be, and his offspring be disobedi- 
ent and rebellious ; he may be as authoritative as 
the Grand Turk, and his children despise and plot 
rebellion against him. But let parental authority 
be tempered with fatherly affection, and let the reins 
of discipline be steadily held by this powerful but 
affectionate hand, and then shall the pleasure of God 
prosper, then shall he give his blessing 1 even life 
forevermore.' " 

At the expiration of seven years' residence in 
Warren, Mr. Stewart was solicited to come to Wind- 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



69 



sor and conduct an extensive woollen factory, "just 
completed and furnished with all the recently in- 
vented and improved orders of mechanism and 
intricate machinery." He removed to this town, 
which was twenty-five miles distant, in the spring 
of 1823, leaving Mrs. Stewart's mother with her 
only sister, the wife of Mr. Samuel Elwell. To 
"Windsor, the intelligence of his alleged " impropriety" 
had preceded him and been diffused among those 
less acquainted with his true piety, with accumulated 
virulence. He was proscribed the use of the church, 
" lest he injure the cause of Methodism now prosper- 
ing there," and was advised not to exhort in the 
neighborhood. But it was impossible for him to 
hush the spirit within, continually groaning for the 
salvation of his fellow creatures. He remembered 
that his Exemplar came to " his own, and his own 
received him not," that he was despised and rejected 
of men, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with 
grief," that he declared with agony: "My soul is 
exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death ;" yet Christ 
pressed on and established a glorious kingdom and 
completed the redemption of the world despite the 
interposing barriers and his violent enemies. Mr. 
Stewart was longing to cry, " Behold the Lamb of 
God which taketh away the sin of the world," and 
in his emergency he consulted one of the brethren 
who avowed his readiness to assist him in any 
practicable way. At length a private house was 
secured, and here upon the occasion of his first 
appearance, the apartments were found inadequate 



70 



LIFE OF 



to the comfortable accommodation of the crowd that 
assembled. Subsequently, the religious services were 
conducted in barns, carpenter shops, and open fields 
in summer, and during the winter months the perse- 
cuted child of God took his stand behind a chair in 
the commodious farm-house kitchen of Mr. George 
Phelps, who, with his wife and a score in addition, 
were soon brought to a saving knowledge of the 
truths of the gospel, and their names handed over 
to the church in the beautiful spirit of a " peace 
offering." The discourses delivered in these places, 
though he seldom announced the location of his text, 
could not be too emphatically termed sermons ; they 
were regularly arranged, and addressed directly to 
the consciences of the people; invariably adapted 
and intended to expose the evil of sin and the 
insufficiency of a mere formal religion, in contra- 
distinction to that sincere, spiritual worship which 
God delights to smile upon and accept, while he 
urged Christians to the faithful discharge of every 
duty and to the just appreciation of every blessed 
privilege, that they might go on from justification 
to sanctification and be in perfect peace with Christ 
the Lord. These constituted the staple of his 
preaching ; and practical attention to them all was 
enforced by solemn references to their value in life 
and in death, while the strictness and impartiality of 
the judgment were enforced. 

Mr. Stewart was tall and well proportioned; he 
had a frank, generous countenance, and was graceful 
in every gesture and movement of his body. His 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



71 



voice was soft and agreeable but of immense compass, 
which he did not fear to exercise to its utmost 
capacity. He abounded in anecdote which he had 
a peculiar faculty for appropriating and relating 
impressively. His originality and quaintness com- 
manded general and riveted attention. He speedily 
became popular, and before the expiration of twelve 
months his reputation was established, the entire 
body of the church was conciliated, and he was 
universally respected and admired. Thus satisfac- 
torily under the all wise guidance of God, passed the 
two years' residence in Windsor. 

One evening in the early part of May, 1824, as he 
and his wife were lingering around the tea-table, 
surrounded by their four children, Mr. Stewart 
suddenly started from the seat where he was sitting 
in silent thought, and said to his wife, " I must go 
to the east and visit my relatives !" She answered : 
" Thomas, you are not certainly in earnest." " Yes, 
I am ; I must go and warn them to flee from the 
wrath to come." " Is not this an impulse which will 
soon subside?" "I have thought of it seriously 
during several months, but it seemed impossible. 
To-day I have received a communication from the 
proprietors of Parkman Mills, asking my services in 
Parkman, next spring. I can settle my family snugly 
in Warren, with the Elwells, and be absent two 
months the coming fall." 

" Are there no effective ministers of the Gospel in 
New Jersey?" "There are, it is true. Yet I am 
positive my father and sisters do not attend upon the 



72 



LIFE OF 



means of grace with any degree of profit or advan- 
tage. This is perceptible from the worldly tenor of 
their letters. If I do not go, their blood will be on my 
skirts ; otherwise, I feel that God will make me an 
honored instrument, in his hands, of my dear old 
father's conversion. I must go and preach to them, 
and pray with them, and labor for them ; then, if 
they die unprepared for an entrance into the ever- 
lasting kingdom of the Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ, they will alone be compelled to bear the 
burden of their neglect of duty, and I am acquitted." 

" You know your duty. I have never opposed 
you in anything appertaining to religious impulses ; 
I shall not now, though our good Father knows how 
desolate I shall feel when you shall be four hundred 
miles away. But he will watch over me and the 
children, and we will pray that your journey may 
be free from accident, successful and expeditious. 
Nay, if your destination were the remotest island of 
the sea, for Christ's sake I would be willing to sacri- 
fice all things and all friends, to accompany you 
thither, in order to render those domestic services 
which it should be a wife's pleasure to perform." 
Tears filled the husband's eyes, and joyous pulsa- 
tions throbbed in his heart at the recollection of his 
goodly heritage, his lovely wife the gift of God's 
providence, and of "the olive plants around his 
table." 

The first of November found Mr. and Mrs. Stewart 
in Warren ; the latter comfortably ensconced with 
her mother and sister upon Mr. Elwell's farm, the 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



73 



former awaiting the conclusion of requisite prepara- 
tions to travel over the mountains. On the tenth of 
the month, he set out upon his eastern expedition 
and arrived at Burlington the 24th, after an absence 
of twelve years. He received the most cordial wel- 
come from his relatives and acquaintances, and the 
extreme kindness of his mother, who acknowledged 
her injustice to him in his youth, and expressed 
sorrow for her severity and unkindness, dispelled 
every unpleasant thought of the past, and elicited 
the warmest prayers of his forgiving heart for her 
temporal happiness, and concern for her spiritual 
prosperity. 

He remained in Burlington two months, preaching 
almost every evening, in school-house, private house, 
or shop. On these occasions, the affectionate and fer- 
vent manner in which he addressed the unregenerate, 
was an effectual proof of his solicitude for their eter- 
nal welfare. 

He saw the difficulties of his situation in appealing 
personally to the individual members of his own 
family, but he had pondered upon and weighed fully 
these crosses before leaving Ohio, and after traveling 
several hundred miles with this express purpose, no 
barrier should now deter him from its execution. 
His father still adhered tenaciously to "apostolic 
succession" and "baptismal regeneration," and he 
was conscious that upon these points he was sensi- 
tive and vulnerable ; nevertheless, he sought oppor- 
tunities and discharged conscientiously what he felt 
persuaded was his duty. The earnest and constrain- 
7 



74 



LIFE OF 



ing manner in which he pleaded the cause of experi- 
mental piety, the conspicuous effort to avoid rebuking 
while he entreated his father to seek the direct wit- 
ness of the Holy Spirit, and the heart-felt delight 
consequent upon the indisputable evidence of celes- 
tial adoption ; the discovery of his son's admirable 
mixture of discretion and zeal, solemnity and amia- 
bility, all conspired to melt down the calloused heart 
of the aged man and impress it with the necessity of 
living in the constant fear of God and devotion to 
his service. And he solemnly covenanted and com- 
menced instantly " the working out of his own salva- 
tion with fear and trembling," to the end that he 
might be " blameless and harmless, a son of God, 
without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and per- 
verse generation, among whom he might shine as a 
light in the world ; that he might be able to rejoice 
in the day of Christ, not having ran in vain, neither 
labored in vain."' 

With respect to the others of the household, he 
was careful to choose opportune occasions of con- 
versing with them upon sacred subjects, and his 
compassion was equally abundant toward the im- 
moral and profane laborers employed upon the farm ; 
a class whose condition he considered the most 
wretched. Eegarding the wicked as poor beyond 
comparison, he gladly undertook any labor that 
might conduce to their acquisition of the " unsearch- 
able riches of Christ." And he had the gratification 
of seeing success attend his efforts. The moral aspect 
of the farm was changed during his sojourn among 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



75 



its denizens, and he returned to Ohio laden with the 
thanks and blessings of many sincere, grateful and 
loving hearts, who ever afterward referred to this 
visit as a dispensation of God's mercy through a 
divinely commissioned messenger. 

A week after his departure from Warren, Mrs. 
Stewart was waited upon by Mr. James Hall, who 
had recently consigned his companion to the grave, 
and solicited to assume the functions of house- 
keeper during the irksome period of her husband's 
absence. The difficulty of a proper performance of 
the devolving duties of such an office, monopolized 
as her time must be, to a great extent, with a young 
family, was suggested to the widower, who never- 
theless insisted upon the migration of the whole 
corps to his farm-house, where, he assured her, were 
spacious rooms and wholesome aliment, in which 
and with which, the children might thrive almost 
spontaneously ! Thus petitioned, she gathered her 
little treasures together, and equipping them, was 
soon en route for the good farmer's domicil, where 
were passed industriously and pleasantly the weary 
hours, until the return of him upon whom the richest 
treasures of her heart were bestowed. 

In 1826, we find Mr. Stewart in the Parkman 
factory, laboring for the support of his interesting 
family during the day, for the extension of Christ's 
general family during the evening. It was his cus- 
tom to keep some Scriptural or educational book 
convenient to him, and as he advanced and receded 
in the spinning operation, to prosecute his studies, 



76 



LIFE OF 



never relinquishing a truth until it was thoroughly 
understood and stored away in his mind. The Bible 
was the great text-book to which he applied his 
mind most closely, and from which he extracted the 
treasures of knowledge which he considered most 
worthy of seeking after. 

He invariably repaired to his closet before meeting 
public congregations, and struggled with the angel 
of Grod, until faith was vouchsafed that the Holy 
Spirit would strengthen and aid him ; from the 
assembly he directly withdrew to his secret retreat, 
to plead that the seed sown might be received into 
good and honest hearts, and spring up, bringing 
forth fruit an hundred-fold. He was sometimes 
urged by the brethren to enter the ranks of itinerant 
ministers, and devote his entire life to the salvation 
of souls. On the one hand, he had a great desire to 
be useful in every spiritual point of view ; on the 
other, he felt the strong claims which his family had 
on his efforts in a pecuniary way. He saw that the 
support obtained by the traveling preachers was 
meagre, and that the wives and children of these 
suffered deprivation from the perpetual absence of 
their head, and from the constant sacrifices which 
they were compelled to make. Moreover, the limited 
measure of his gifts, he argued, could not consistently 
lead him to expect an appointment where a family 
the size of his might be very comfortably main- 
tained. For his own part he would have declined 
the most liberal positions of emolument or honor, to 
follow the advice of his counsellors, but he hesitated 



KEY. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



77 



to introduce her, whose previous life had been by 
his vacillation so unsettled and toilsome, to a life of 
still greater trial. He was confident that her alle- 
giance to the cross, and the love she bore the Saviour's 
cause, were sufficient incentives for her to endure an 
existence of probation patiently, yet he could not 
think of her situation of comparative solitude and 
loneliness, without emotions of reluctance, that sealed 
his lips upon the subject. "Were this feature of the 
case more favorable — the height of the sacerdotal 
office, its responsibility, to which he felt himself in- 
adequate, and the humble opinion he entertained of 
his own abilities, together with the consciousness of 
his limited and inferior qualifications, he feared, 
would debar him from an admittance to the Annual 
Conference, were such his desire. 

" At all events," he replied to those who intimated 
their fears that he did not occupy his proper position, 
u I shall continue my studies, and if the Great Head 
of the church design me for his exclusive work, in 
his own good time I shall be informed by the Holy 
Spirit and called by the Christians around me." 

Mr. Stewart, as before noticed, looked upon the 
sacred desk as the most exalted position men are 
called to occupy. He apprehended from the conduct 
of some ministers, especially among the younger 
portion of the fraternity, where he had observed a 
misimprovement of precious, golden hours, that 
there was a fearful possibility of not sufficiently 
regarding the solemn office of a minister, and if he 
assumed this high prerogative he desired that he 

7* 



78 



LIFE OF 



might be well qualified in that he could exhibit a 
faultless and holy example, which is invariably the 
sequence of continual effort for God's kingdom. 
After "following righteousness, charity and peace 
with them that called on the Lord out of a pure 
heart" in Parkman during two years, he received a 
letter from his father announcing the death of his 
wife, and asking him to return to Burlington. In 
the event of his entering the ministerial ranks, he 
presumed that New Jersey would be better adapted 
to his circumstances than Ohio. He reflected that 
this might be a providential interposition, and after' 
much earnest prayer and a conference with Mrs. 
Stewart, the resolution was formed to return, like 
Jacob, from the land which had proved to him a 
spiritual Canaan, " wherein his father was a stranger," 
and follow the distinct command which he felt was 
from God : " Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there, 
and make thee an altar unto God that appeared unto 
thee when thou fleddest from the country of thy 
father." Mrs. Stewart's mother had died in the full 
assurance of faith and gone home to a blessed im- 
mortality, and although it was a severe trial to say 
farewell to an only sister, she expressed a willing- 
ness to retrace her steps to the State of her nativity. 
Accordingly, on the 5th of September, 1827, they 
bade adieu to the country of their adoption, in which 
so many happy seasons had been enjoyed, and so 
many glorious conversions witnessed. The journal 
of this date runs thus : — 

"I adjusted my affairs, and left the little town of 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART, 



79 



Parkman with my wife and four children, Maria, 
James, Joseph, and Sarah, in a carriage which con- 
veyed us to Xew Jersey, after a pleasant journey of 
eighteen days. Xow I was placed among altogether 
a different society or class of people. I could not 
long hold my peace, however, but soon commenced 
to lift my voice in honor of Christ. The Lord soon 
showed me that my coming east was in accordance 
with his Divine will." 

TVhen Mr. Stewart was returning to Ohio after his 
visit to Burlington, three years previous to his re- 
moval, he rested for a night among the mountains of 
Pennsylvania with Mr. Isaac Potter, the hospitable 
landlord of a small country inn. Pequesting permis- 
sion, he had summoned the neighbors, and "waited 
on his exhortation" by administering the Gospel of 
truth to them. TT hen he arrived with his family at 
this public house, he received a cordial greeting from 
Mr. Potter, who imparted the cheering intelligence 
of his conversion, and insisted upon " a second edi- 
tion" of his preaching ere he proceeded. Encouraged 
by past success, he was constrained to comply with 
the landlord's request, though involving the sacrifice 
of half a day's travel. An appointment was made 
for the evening, and published by Mr. Potter's pious 
servant girl, who, having heard his previous sermon 
with uncontrolled delight, went from house to -house 
inviting the people to come up to the school-house 
to-night if they wished to hear " the greatest preacher 
that ever crossed the Alleghany Mountains," 



80 



LIFE OF 



CHAPTEE Y. 

AN ITINERANT AND MISSIONARY. 

Exhorting license renewed — Caleb Lippincott— Receives license 
to preach from Charles Pitman — Received on trial at Confer- 
ence in Philadelphia — William Granville — Sent to Pemberton 
Circuit — Vincenttown camp-meeting — Henry Boem — Sent to 
Bergen Mission — Hardships on new ground — Illness — Extracts 
from diary — Compelled to ask of Christians the privilege of 
staying all night — Revisits Pemberton Circuit — New Brunswick 
camp-meeting — Effect of a sermon by Dr. Pitman — Prayer- 
meeting at Joseph Robbins' — James Folwell — Revival on the 
Mission — Henry Roberts — A letter. 

The first quarterly meeting on Burlington Circuit 
after Mr. Stewart's return from Ohio, was held at 
Mount Holly. His exhorting license was renewed, 
and he was admitted into the Quarterly Conference 
of West Jersey District. He labored the two suc- 
ceeding years on Burlington and Tuckerton circuits, 
with Caleb Lippincott, a converted Quaker, and a 
redoubtable friend and advocate of the gospel. Al- 
though not anxious to enter the traveling connec- 
tion, he could not divest his mind of the impression 
that he ought to preach. In the mean time, he waited 
patiently a clearer revelation from God concerning 
him. The love of Christ constrained him, and fired 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



81 



his heart, and his talents were exercised at every 
possible opportunity with powerful and almost won- 
derful effect. He would frequently work in the 
field until four o'clock in the afternoon, and then, 
saddling his horse, ride ten or fifteen miles, preach 
in a crowded school-house, witness the awakening of 
many of those who had been attracted by curiosity 
to hear "the western preacher," and return to Bur- 
lington, singing as he rode along, under the face of 
the midnight sky — 

How happy is the pilgrim's lot, 

How free from every anxious thought, 

From worldly hope and fear ; 
Confined to neither court nor cell, 
His soul disdains on earth to dwell, 

He only sojourns here. 

He continued to labor in this way, "counting the 
things which were gain to him, loss for the excellency 
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord," until 
January 30th, 1830, when he received his first written 
license to preach, at Mount Holly, from Kev. Charles 
Pitman. Prior to this, he had explained the word 
of God as assisted by the ability which God conferred, 
with verbal authority from the preachers in charge 
of the respective circuits on which he lived. Now 
he went forth with a double commission: that of his 
presiding elder, written upon paper, and the creden- 
tials of high Heaven, indelibly impressed upon his 
heart. 

Shortly after this, the failing health of Kev. James 
Moore, an old and worthy veteran of the cross in the 
Methodist connection, compelled him to relinquish 



82 



LIFE OF 



the active service, and retire within the tents, while 
those possessing superior physical abilities, continued 
to wage the battle with the enemies of Christ. This 
vacation opened the door of the itinerancy for Mr. 
Stewart, and, receiving a communication from Mr. 
Pitman to that effectj he went to Pemberton Circuit. 
Thus was he literaly thrust into the field in which 
he, doubtless, should have been laboring ten years 
before. In the ten months which passed previous 
to his going to Pemberton, he worked but seventeen 
full days on the farm. He commenced in good 
earnest that dauntless service in the glorious cause 
of the Captain of salvation, which he continued, 
with unflagging zeal, for nearly twenty years. An 
idea of his intense interest for the perishing souls 
within his jurisdiction, and of his signal success, may 
be formed from the fact that, during the three months 
which elapsed between the beginning of his career 
and the ensuing conference, he preached twenty-four 
sermons extra, and received seventy professing con- 
version into membership. These three months were 
harmoniously passed with Rev. William Granville. 
This brother was subsequently impressed with the 
idea that his talents were better adapted to the Pro- 
testant Episcopal branch of Christ's Catholic Church, 
and was transferred to the diocese of New York. 

Conference met at Philadelphia, April 14th, 1830, 
Bishop Hedding presiding. Mr. Stewart was pre- 
sent for the first time, and was received on trial. 
Several men with families having applied for admit- 
tance, Bishop Hedding inquired of the presiding 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



83 



elder, Mr. Pitman, if any location suitable for the 
candidate was open upon his district, to which the 
unhesitating reply was made, "Half-a-dozen places 
are open for Mr. Stewart.*' He was returned to 
Pemberton Circuit, and removed his family to Med- 
ford, from which place he went statedly to eleven ap- 
pointments — Pemberton, TTrightstown, Xew Egypt, 
Imlaystown, Atzion,Yincentto wn, Imlay's Hill, Budd- 
town, Tabernacle, Cookstown, Zion, and several 
school-house missions. Pemberton was the most im- 
portant point in this circuit, exhibiting a majority 
of members over any other of the churches. In 
1832, it was cut off from the circuit, and subse- 
quently supported its own stationed preacher. "When 
Mr. Stewart first entered the Medford chapel, in 1829, 
seventeen names were enrolled on the church records; 
at his departure, May 10th, 1831, they had been in- 
creased by one hundred and thirty-three, making a 
round number of one hundred and fifty. In the 
other appointments, especially at Imlay"s Hill, copi- 
ous showers of grace fell, refreshing the churches, 
and causing the implanted seed to spring up in 
many good and honest hearts, such as held nobly to 
the profession of their faith. Scores, ere this, have 
been gathered, as ripe sheaves, into the garner of 
the Lord: and perhaps as many are still fighting as 
good soldiers, looking to Jesus, the author of their 
faith, resolved to run the whole length of the celes- 
tial road, that they may receive the welcome plaudit, 
"Well done, good and faithful servants; ye have 



81 



LIFE OF 



been faithful over a few things, I will make you 
ruler over many things." 

Eev. Henry Boem, a German, possessing many of 
the noble characteristics of his nation, was Mr. 
Stewart's agreeable colleague this year. This 
worthy laborer had been employed with an un- 
divided heart in the vineyard of the Lord during 
mauy successive years, and frequently related anec- 
dotes of Bishop Asbury, with whom he was inti- 
mate in the first part of his ministry. Mr. Boem 
resided in Pemberton, and was continued after Mr. 
Stewart's removal. 

A camp-meeting was held at Yincenttown this 
year, which resulted in a gracious outpouring of the 
Spirit ; multitudes were converted to God, and at 
the present day, many saints, within the range of 
old Pemberton Circuit, cherish the names of Boem 
and Stewart as the messengers of Heaven by whom 
their wandering feet were conducted into the path 
of life. The people petitioned the Annual Confer- 
ence, held at Philadelphia, in the spring of 1831, 
for Mr. Stewart's return the ensuing year, but 
having been with them fifteen months, and many of 
the preachers being of the opinion that his daunt- 
less intrepidity and indefatigable perseverance would 
constitute a successful missionary, he was sent to 
Bergen Neck Mission, in Bergen County, over a 
hundred miles northeast from Medford. 

Leaving his two sons with two of " the original 
seventeen" in this village, to learn trades, he set out 
with the remainder of his family for Jersey City, 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



85 



where they arrived on the 13th of May, after a 
tedious wagon journey of three days. 

The religious condition of the Mission was very 
discouraging when he entered upon his work. The 
appointments were Jersey City, Hoboken, and Fort 
Lee; in the three, he found the names of only tioenty 
members. There was much deep-rooted prejudice 
against Methodism, especially at Fort Lee, whose 
inhabitants were principally Germans. His congre- 
gations were small; those who favored him with 
their presence, considered themselves abused, and 
did not condescend to make a second appearance, 
unless individually waited upon by the minister 
and thanked for their attendance. Mr. Stewart's 
support was inadequate, being but $200, besides the 
house-rent, $50, which were paid for three small 
apartments in the dwelling of Mr. Francis Palmer, 
a Frenchman, who was at once sexton, trustee, 
chorister, and conductor generally of all the im- 
portant arrangements connected with and relating 
to the Methodist Church. Mr. Palmer bore his 
official honors without ostentation, and he was 
neither perplexed by their ponderous weight of 
responsibility nor by apprehensions of any one of 
them being usurped, or lost by suffrage. His wife, 
an amiable Irish lady, was converted before immi- 
grating to America, and had frequently heard John 
"Wesley preach in the parlor of her mother's house, 
in Ireland. 

Mr. Stewart's prospects, as before stated, were 
gloomy enough upon his arrival at the Mission ; 
8 



86 



LIFE OF 



frequently, in the first three months of his labors, 
he traversed sections within his boundaries, where 
his sermons were rejected ; the people peremptorily 
refusing to open a door for him to enter. " Some- 
times," says his journal, " I travel among strangers, 
cold and unsympathizing, and often faint through 
hunger and fatigue ; but in God, who feeds my soul 
with the bread of life, and supports my sinking 
spirit, do I put my confidence, and I shall never be 
confounded. My thoughts frequently revert to the 
dear ones on Pemberton Circuit. 

" My friends — do they now and then send 
A wish or a thought after me ? 
Oh, tell me I yet have a friend, 
Though him I am never to see." 

In his three churches, the congregations seldom 
exceeded ten or fifteen, and these were poor. He 
had taken his horse to Jersey City ; but when visit- 
ing his preaching places, he was now obliged to 
place him in the stable of strangers, and pay exor- 
bitant prices for provender, so was compelled to sell 
him to avoid the extra expense thus incurred, and 
walk, or go to his appointments by public convey- 
ance. He added, nevertheless, Communipaw, Ber- 
gen Point, and several other places to his list. His 
mind, in lonely journey ings through forests or over 
the hills, was, at times, deeply affected, especially 
when he thought of his family, deprived of all the 
luxuries and many of the comforts of life. He cast 
a lingering glance over the past, and it seemed that 
he had brought but little gladness and no rest to his 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



87 



beloved companion's heart; subjecting her, as he had, 
to numerous migrations and frequent changes. But 
assured of her perfect resignation to the- will of God 
concerning him, and recollecting that she had be- 
sought him to perform his duty, whatever it might 
be, without consulting her convenience, he turned to 
inspiration and read the promise of God to them, 
"who by patient continuance in welldoing, seek 
for glory, honor, and immortality," and to Paul's 
exhortation, to " endure hardness as good soldiers." 
Comforted and encouraged, he went to his little 
churches, rejoicing to be honored as a servant of 
Christ, whom he endeavored to hold up to the gaze 
of the people. When thus triumphing, he testifies 
to having experienced a contentment and happiness 
of heart which often are denied those surrounded by 
the luxuries and blessings afforded by affluence. 
Among the rocks and hills and in the valleys of the 
Hudson Eiver, after delivering his message to a 
scanty congregation, his lips would chime : — 

The things eternal I pursue, 
A happiness beyond the view 

Of those that basely pant 
For things by nature felt and seen ; 
Their honors, wealth, and pleasures mean, 

I neither have nor want. 

No foot of land do I possess, 
No cottage in this wilderness ; 

A poor wayfaring man, 
I lodge awhile in tents below, 
Or gladly wander to and fro 

Till I my Canaan gain. 



88 



LIFE OF 



Untiring when in health and somewhat imprudent 
in over-exertion when indisposed, the labors which 
he attempted on the mission ground soon proved too 
great for his physical vigor. After preaching in the 
house of Josiah Johnson, at Hackensack, on the 4th 
of July, and perspiring freely, he returned to his 
home in the evening; a violent cold was induced, 
and Mr. Stewart was confined to the house for eight 
days, a longer time than he had rested from his labor 
for two years. 

The few friends with whom his family was blessed 
in Jersey City, were unremitting in attention and 
Christian sympathy, and the wife of the class-leader 
of that place, Mrs. Paradise, was, by her -continued 
solicitude, bound to the pastor's heart by a strong 
band of affection which never was sundered. July 
12th was the first day of his going out. He met a 
friend, and after the usual salutation, exclaimed : 
" I thank God sincerely for the few souls which he 
has given me on the Mission. Oh, how I love to 
see the work of the Lord reviving I But this is a 
desperate place. God wants to be gracious, and men 
flee from him. Never did the conduct of a city's 
denizens declare more loudly, ' We will not have 
the man Christ Jesus to reign over us.' Never did 
the guilt of a people clamor more loudly for an 
administration of retributive justice, but I pray 
Heaven that the lifted thunder may not drop on 
these rebellious spirits." How often are mercies 
increased to sinful men by the fervent effectual 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



89 



prayers of tbe very ministers of God whom they 
despise and ridicule ? 

A few days after Mr. Stewart's convalescence, lie 
rode to a village near New York to which one 
hundred and twenty-five families had been driven 
by the great conflagration in that city. Many who 
had depended upon affluence for support and happi- 
ness, poor and houselesSj sought refuge beneath the 
humble roofs of toiling mechanics, with scarcely 
habiliments sufficient to cover them. He was re- 
minded of the advice of Solomon, " Labor not to be 
rich ! Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is 
not ? For riches certainly make themselves wings, 
they fly away as an eagle toward heaven." 

Physical inability warning him not to enter the 
pulpit for a few days, on Friday, he walked several 
miles to try and secure the service of a brother, with 
whom he was not personally acquainted, to relieve 
him of the labor of preaching on the ensuing Sabbath. 
Eeaching the town of his destination at 8 o'clock in 
the evening, he called upon two local preachers, at 
neither of whose houses he heard an inquiry whether 
he had partaken supper, nor an invitation to accept 
the hospitality of their domicils during the night ! 
Weary from travel and weak from recent illness, he 
felt tot^ly inadequate to the task of returning with- 
out nourishment and rest; consequently was com- 
pelled to ask of Christians, apparently indifferent to 
the necessities of a brother, the privilege of remain- 
ing beneath their roof. Had these forgotten the in- 
junction of Paul to the Hebrews in his valedictory 

8* 



90 



LIFE OF 



to that persecuted people, when, after exhorting them 
to strive vigorously to promote the united interests 
of peace and holiness, he requested them to exercise 
brotherly affection, to live a life of thankfulness to 
Grod and benevolence to mankind, and "not to be 
forgetful to entertain strangers" ? Unwilling to in- 
trude further upon those who seemed so utterly de- 
void of Christian solicitude, he bade his entertainers an 
early farewell, and set out for Jersey City. Fortu- 
nately he encountered a familiar friend who con- 
ducted him to the house of a relative where every 
deficiency was amply repaired, and who sent him. in 
a carriage to the city of his residence. Though in- 
capacitated to a still greater measure by his journey 
and suffering, he rode twenty miles on the Sabbath 
and preached three sermons. Here we find his mind 
again recurring to the past. He says: "I have many 
concerns and responsibilities, but enjoy much religion, 
which supports me. Lord, help me ! My head and 
heart often ache on this mission ; but what is this to 
that which the missionaries of heathen lands endure ! 
How often I think of the kindness of Pemberton 
Circuit, of the many benevolent friends in Tuckerton 
and Medford. I feel as though I was far, far away 
from home — a pilgrim and a stranger ; soon it will 
be said of me, 'There he lived and there died!' 
Lord, preserve me from inactivity and lukewarmness! 
Spare me from being brought to this arena, to defame 
the position, reduce the standard of religion, and spot 
the pure church. Lord, keep me pure!" 

On the 17th of July he preached to the sailors in 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



New York, and remained over night in the city. A 
serious fire occurred near the house of the brother 
with whom he lodged; he records it thus: "About 
thirty houses were destroyed. Many families were 
deprived of comfortable homes. A lady and three 
children were consumed in one of the dwellings. 
Oh, how many dejected countenances I saw ! If they 
have 'the peace of God, ? how well is it now I" 

Fine gold will change and diamonds fade, 

Swift wings to wealth, are given ; 
All varying time onr forms invade, 
The seasons roll, light sinks in shade ; 

There 's nothing lasts hut Heaven. 

On the 29th, indulging a hope that an excursion 
upon the sea would prove beneficial to his health, 
which was still in a somewhat precarious state, he 
repaired with his daughter Maria to New York, and 
went on board of a vessel with about four hundred 
individuals, principally Methodists, who proposed a 
sail along Sand}^ Hook to Long Branch. 

"I was deeply grieved," says he, of this company, 
"to find the Methodists of Xew York City conformed 
in a great degree to the world. I fear many of the 
professors of religion in our body were not ; trans- 
formed by the renewing of their minds," and had not 
'proved what is that good and acceptable and perfect 
will of God.' I inquired of one of the preachers if 
the blessing of sanctification was generally sought 
for among his parishioners, and the response was such 
as I might have anticipated, I do not know. This 
minister cannot certainly enjoy that measure of grace 



92 



LIFE OF 



and faith which the shepherd of a flock ought to, 
else^ would his soul go out in strong, irresistible, 
vehement desire for the sheep of his fold — that they 
might be made partakers of 'a like precious faith' 
and 'perfect holiness in the fear of God.'" 

There was, perhaps, nothing which elicited the 
sorrow of Mr. Stewart's soul to such an infinite de- 
gree as the sight of a man or woman possessing the 
form of godliness to deny its power. He considered 
that the state of such was tenfold more deplorable 
and hopeless than that of the outbreaking sinner; 
persuaded as they were by the Devil to imagine them- 
selves " followers of God as dear children ;" or else, 
careless and indifferent of the pernicious example 
with which they presented the world — a greater im- 
pediment to the cause of Christianity than the most ex- 
tended phalanx of infidels the world might marshal! 

A well known author observes that "the weak 
and the wavering have, in every age, outnumbered 
the vigorous and unshaken professors of Christianity." 
Mr. Stewart beheld in his day with irrepressible 
concern, the large class of unsteady and formal 
believers. But while he bewailed their instability, 
he did not deprive them of an ample proportion of 
his love, and he labored to strengthen the weak 
hands and confirm the feeble knees with untiring 
assiduity. 

July 22d, he says: "This morning we had a 
gloriously good time at a prayer meeting in Jersey 
City. A heavenly shower fell on all the congrega- 
tion, and I trust this is the earnest or antepast of 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



93 



the deluge of Christ's spirit which we shall enjoy at 
Tom's Kiver camp-meeting, for which we are making 
preparations. I pray God to accompany us." 

July 23d. " At our meeting to-night the Lord of 
glory met us. I observed many wet eyes, and I am 
persuaded that there was convicting power among 
us. Saints were blessed, and their shouts attracted 
near fifty persons around the windows. In this city 
shouting is condemned. I wish Christians had reli- 
gion enough not to condemn it. But I find if we 
serve God faithfully, we shall be considered enthu- 
siasts. Other denominations censure us for our 
excitement and boisterous ejaculations, but I thank 
God that we feel like it. The King was among us 
to night, and should not his subjects be allowed to 
make the welkin ring with songs of delight and 
exclamations of praise ? Glory to God ! We will ! 
We will!" 

Shortly after this, he was attacked by an infidel in 
one of the streets of Jersey City. Eetiring to an 
obscure quarter of the wharf which the two had 
approached, Mr. Stewart labored several hours in 
exercising every power of his mind and bringing 
every passage of Scripture, bearing upon the point, 
to assist in the subversion of infidelity and the 
vindication of the genuineness of Christianity. 

This open antagonist of our holy religion was 
unable to reason upon the subject ; did not utter a 
syllable in support of his diabolical creed, but accu- 
mulated superficial objections to the faith and Bible 
of his opponent. By his native penetration, the 



94 



LIFE OF 



minister of the gospel saw that the whole foundation 
of the infidel's objections, like that of the majority 
of his class, was composed of the natural pride and 
corruption of the human heart. In leaving, he 
expressed a fear that unless he should repent and 
yield to be saved by the terms of the gospel, judg- 
ment would speedily overtake him and he be left 
" without remedy." The following day Mr. Stewart 
was called upon to preach a funeral sermon, and 
upon inquiry, learned it was that of the incorrigible 
infidel whom he had conversed with and warned. 
But a few hours after the interview, he had fallen 
into the river, and could not he rescued. 

He frequently related the circumstance when ad- 
dressing opposers of the religion of our blessed 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The privilege of 
again beholding the friends of Pemberton Circuit 
at the camp -meeting, was one which Mr. Stewart 
highly appreciated and thanked God for. His meet- 
ing his two sons, James and Joseph, was a time of 
silence and weeping; all were too much overcome 
to express the gladness that pervaded their hearts, 
and each experienced the truth of the sentiment, 
" The soul feels most when the lips move not." 

A season of general conversion and rejoicing was 
witnessed at the meeting, and Mr. Stewart hastened 
away to be present at another which was to be held 
near New Brunswick. He furnishes an account of 
the wonderful effect of one sermon delivered by 
Rev. Charles Pitman, Aug. 1st. 

" At the close of his discourse the people were so 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



95 



overwhelmed, that a deathly silence prevailed on the 
ground. Tears, copious and glistening, gushed up 
from every heart. The heaven -inspired brother 
himself, almost removed beyond the power of utter- 
ance, motioned to one who sat near him to pray. 
The congregation knelt down, and for five minutes 
not a voice was heard. It was a melting, soul 
subduing time. Eventually a prayer meeting was 
commenced, and 1 then c^me a sound from Heaven 
as of a rushing, mighty wind.' Believers were 
sanctified, and sinners brought to the foot of the 

cross. Two preachers, Brother P , and Brother 

B , fell prostrate on the ground, and lay in a 

state of apparent unconsciousness during several 
hours." 

An old man, who had not heard a sermon for 
twenty years, led thither by curiosity, heard Brother 
Pitman's discourse, fell beneath the power of convic- 
tion, yielded to be saved on the terms of the gospel, 
was blessed and returned home " rejoicing in hope 
of the glory of God." And " so mightily grew the 
word of God and prevailed." 

Aug. 5th. Mr. Stewart arrived in Wrightstown 
and preached from the Parable of the Sower, in the 
evening. "Some seed," says he, "fell on good ground 
before I had concluded my sermon. The people were 
shouting, leaping and praising God, and I thanked 
the Saviour out of a sincere heart fervently. Three 
times I advised the congregation to retire after the 
prayer meeting, but it was impossible to make my- 
self heard, amid the singing and praying of this ear- 



96 



LIFE OF 



nest people. However, about twelve o'clock, the sex- 
ton succeeded in clearing the church and closing its 
doors ; although the voices of those who had vacated 
the holy inclosure were heard as they, on foot and 
in carriages, pursued their happy, homeward way." 

I remained with Brother Solomon Imlay during 
the night, and passed the next day with Brother 
William Horner. I tried to preach on Sabbath 
morning and evening at Inlay's Hill, and, drawing 
the gospel net, a few sinners were caught and made 
partakers of the precious faith of the children of 
God. 

Aug. 11th. "Passed this day with Joseph and 
George Eobbins. In the evening a prayer meeting 
was held at the house of the former. All present 
were refreshed by the showers of God's grace and 
love which fell. Three of the number were power- 
fully blessed, falling upon the floor and shouting for 
two hours. May God keep this people 'always 
abounding in the work of the Lord !' My spirit's as- 
pirations go out in behalf of the friends I am with, 
and all, who, when I sojourned among them, offered 
me a home in the midst of their families. We shall 
meet in a better land. 

" But I must go and preach to them who do not 
yet love the name of our Jesus, away, away in cold, 
repulsive Bergen mission. But this is my delight, 
to endure for Christ, even as he suffered for me, if 
need be. ' For I reckon that the sufferings of this 
present time are not worthy to be compared with the 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWAET. 



97 



glory that shall be revealed in me,' if faithful to the 
commission intrusted to my weak hands." 

" Happy, if, with my latest breath, 

I may but gasp his name ; 
Preach him to all, and cry, in death, 
'Behold, behold the Lamb !' " 

When Mr. Stewart was favored with a means of 
grace and did not find himself sensibly quickened, 
it was a source of deep humiliation to him. Under 
such circumstances he always regarded himself as a 
criminal; he felt that neglect of some public or pri- 
vate duty or remissness in some department of his 
official character, debarred him from that intimate 
communion with, and faith in God, which invariable 
prevails at a throne of mercy. He deemed it the 
glorious privilege of all Christians to live in constant 
intimacy with God ; to be joined in life with the Au- 
thor of their existence ; to feel, when admiring the 
beauty and grandeur of nature, that they could look 
up and in the rapture of conscious adoption exclaim, 
"My Father made it all 1" When such was not the 
state of Christians, he apprehended that they were not 
yet dead to the law; not quite slain by the command- 
ment; not an heir of God! 

At the little meeting in the house of Mr. Eobbins, 
however, all were free men and women in Christ 
Jesus, and this good man was led to exclaim, "Us 
hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and 
in sins." 

Near the domicil of Mr. Joseph Eobbins, stood the 
farm-house of Mrs. Susan Folwell, a worthy lady of 

9 



98 



LIFE OF 



the sect of Friends. The noise made by the worship- 
pers on this occasion, attracted a son and daughter to 
the meeting. James, a young man of about twenty 
years, who did not venture to enter, but stood gazing 
with peculiar interest through one of the open win- 
dows, was, for the first time, impressed with a sense 
of his lost condition unless made acquainted with 
experimental piety and brought to a knowledge of 
pardoned sin through the merits of Jesus Christ, the 
Son of God. He returned home resolved to seek the 
Lord with his whole heart. On the following Sab- 
bath evening Mr. Folwell walked four miles to a 
Methodist meeting. Disappointed in not having an 
invitation to approach the altar, he started home with 
a heart borne down beneath its ponderous load of 
guilt and sin, praying, as he plodded along the high- 
way, that God would for Christ's sake have mercy 
upon him and cancel his transgressions. He at 
length arrived in front of a small house, occupied 
by Neddy Conner, a colored man, justly distinguished 
for deep, genuine, and enthusiastic piety. Entering 
the humble tenement, he unfolded the wretchedness 
of his state, requesting Neddy to pray for his imme- 
diate release from the thraldom of Satan ; which re- 
quest being complied with, and the supplications of 
the holy Christian going up to Heaven, attended with 
an exercise of strong faith, the soul of the penitent 
was set at perfect liberty, and Mr. Folwell rejoiced 
in possession of — 

" A peace to sensual mind unknown, 
A joy unspeakable." 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



99 



Mr. Stewart had departed for his home, and did not 
hear of this conversion until a letter was received 
from him to whom his preaching had proved "a 
savor of life unto life." 

Eestored in health, renewed in the spirit of Christ, 
strengthened by might according to his glorious 
power, and longing after sinners in the bowels of 
the Saviour, he commenced a series of evening 
meetings in Jersey City; but opposed by the various 
sects by whom they were surrounded, ridiculed by 
a censorious public, and buffeted by the deformed 
shapes and hideous clamors of the powers of dark- 
ness, it was found to be very laborious and almost 
discouraging work. 

His confidence, however, was strong in the Lord 
and in the power of his might, and his coadjutors, 
though few in number, coming up with simultaneous 
and faithful concurrence to the effectual help of the 
Lord against the mighty, the army of the devil was 
repulsed, and sixteen willing captives were taken 
for the Lord Jesus, increasing the mission member- 
ship to thirty-seven. 

Henry Eoberts, a young man, possessing an un- 
usual depth of intelligence, was among the number. 
He betook himself from that time to studies of a 
sacred nature, and his pastor, observing an exem- 
plary devotion and an unusual solicitude for the 
unconverted, after conversing with him upon the 
subject, brought his name before the church, recom- 
mending him as an exhorter. The proposition was 
sanctioned, and in three months from the date of his 



Lore. 



100 



LIFE OF 



adoption into the family of Christ, Mr, Koberts was 
beseeching those, without hope and weltering in the 
mire of their own corruption, to come out and stand 
upon a Kock, which is firm, strong and immovable. 
Having tasted " the good word of life," and drank of 
" living waters," he was desirous that all should come 
"buy wine and milk, without money and without 
price." He soon after resolved to consecrate himself 
to the work of the holy ministry, and he is. at the 
present day, an acceptable servant of the true and 
living God. Thus in barren places can God produce 
a harvest, and among persecutors, raise up heralds to 
proclaim the tidings of the cross. 

In the early part of November, after having again 
visited Imlaystown, Mr. Stewart received a second 
letter from James Folwell, who, considering himself 
under many obligations to the instrument in his 
conviction of sin, and for the advice afterward re- 
ceived, expressed the unfeigned gratitude of his joy- 
ous spirit, and invited him to come to the house of 
his mother when again in that vicinity. 

Mr. Stewart's unbounded concern for the kingdom 
of Christ induced him not only to speak of divine 
things in all companies where he was thrown, but 
also to write spiritual letters to his friends, and 
sometimes to strangers whom he thought he might 
edify or encourage. The following, written to James 
Folwell, from Jersey City, bears the date of Novem- 
ber 29th, 1831 :— 

Dear Friend : You will excuse me for delay in 
writing, when I inform you that I have been from 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



101 



home, assisting the presiding elder at different places. 
Last Sabbath. I preached three sermons in Jersey- 
City. On Monday I was called to preach a funeral 
sermon, and in the evening I attended onr society 
meeting, which occasioned as much exercise as de- 
livering a discourse. I am now afflicted with some- 
thing like influenza ; yet, as I love my friends, and 
delight in a Christian correspondence, I enter with 
my soul into that exercise. Though I do not profess 
to be a profitable correspondent, there is no present 
so valuable to my feelings as a few lines from my 
friends ; particularly if the ties of those friendships 
are formed in Christian affection — 

" Where mingling hearts strange union know, 
And learn to love as angels do." 

"When I was with you in Imlaystown, I rejoiced 
to see you engaged in one of the best of causes; ay, 
the very best cause/ How shall I find language to 
express my grateful feelings on this subject? Angels 
rejoice in heaven over one sinner that repenteth! 
All the angels of heaven are ministering spirits to 
the heirs of salvation ! Oh, where shall I obtain 
language, properly to paraphrase a theme so exalted ! 
Why do not tears of joy run down my face while I 
write ? "Why do not anthems of praise and echoing 
hallelujahs flow from my pen instead of silent ink — 
to portray a theme so transcendently glorious ? It 
is the glory of conquest! Oh, what a conquest! 
Founded in the blood of atonement ! Producing in 
the Christian an ability to face all opposition and 

9* 



102 



LIFE OF 



gain a glorious crown ! What cause have we for 
thankfulness ! How shall we make suitable returns 
to God for favors so sublime ? "We will honor him 
who has redeemed us : honor him with holy actions 
— spread his fame abroad with our tongues! We 
will spend our strength, our lives in Christ's cause, 
and, if need be, our property, and die in poverty ; 
yet, possessing all things in "the unsearchable 
riches." Eventually, with Lazarus, we may be borne 
away to the New Jerusalem. 

We who have realized Christ's love in our expe- 
rience, require some new and more powerful dialect 
to express it! We will communicate it to angels 
when we get to heaven; then we shall be able to tell 
it. Angels shall hear of Christ's love to us, as we 
walk, arm-in-arm, or sit beneath the Tree of Life ! 
There, names, distinctions, and sects, will not be 
known, but all will be the redeemed of the Lord! 
Perhaps we will wander over the blest hills of im- 
mortality, and, erecting monuments, will write them 
all over with the story of the manger and the cross ! 
By faith, gazing over the celestial plain, I see the 
glittering attire of saints ! Saints and angels and 
all the heavenly hierarchy : they wander along the 
flowery bank of life's stream, and sing the celestial 
song, ever sweet and ever new ! Their garments are 
purely white — and sweeping their harp-strings, they 
chant harmoniously a song, fit for the ear of God! 
But as the Queen of Sheba said concerning the glory 
of Solomon, " the half has not been told." 

My dear Christian friend, you have commenced a 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



103 



good work ; persevere to the end. Strive to be " an 
active member" of the church of Jesus Christ. There 
is no standing still in religion. Let the mind be 
stored with useful knowledge. Eecollect the pro- 
mise, " He that watereth, himself shall be watered." 
In the world to come we shall be rewarded according 
to our works. Expect trial and opposition now; 
look for little from this vain, delusive world, and 
then you will not be disappointed. Be often in your 
closet in spiritual exercise, and in communion with 
God. Many professors of religion live too little with 
God. Keligion has become popular in this day, or 
at least a profession, and instead of Christians being 
" of one heart and soul," there are " strifes and divi- 
sions," which is a positive proof of their weakness. 
I feel for you as a brother, and advise in the lan- 
guage of affection. I am attached to the place of 
your residence, and to the inhabitants of Imlaystown. 
I have attachments here also. Please present my 
respects to your friends and connections, if they 
think me worthy of their friendly notice. Eemem- 
ber me in love to Joseph, James, George, and Joel 
Eobbins, and their families; also to Samuel Hen- 
drickson. Say to John Thomas that I often think 
of him, and fear he will permit Satan to get the 
advantage of him. Tell him I desire his well-being, 
and that if he neglect his soul he will not be the 
help to his wife he ought to be. It is a hard battle, 
if a companion concur with us — how discouraging 
when this is not the case. If a man does not assist 
his family, he will retard their spiritual progress: 



104 



LIFE OF 



they look for an example worthy of imitation in 
him. And there is no neutrality here : " a man can- 
not serve two masters ; for either he will hate the 
one and love the other ; or else he will hold to the 
one and despise the other." A wife is the weaker 
vessel : God designs .the two to be helpmeets, and as 
they are "no longer twain but one flesh," they should 
be one in heart, one in Christ Jesus ! Write and tell 
me how you prosper spiritually, and how religion 
prospers generally in that place. 

Yours, in the ties of Christianity, 

THOS. Gr. STEWART. 
To James Folwell, Esq., Imlaystown, N. J. 



rev. , :: mas g. stewabt 



1QS 



CHAPTER VI. 

FREEHOLD CIECUIT. 

Mr. Stewart is ordained a deacon at Wilmington — Appointed to 
Freehold Circuit — Removal to Long Branch — Review of the 
circuit — Freehold and Red Bank adopted into it — David Bar- 
tine — Peculiar manner of Thos. G. Stewart — Large ingather- 
ing of souls — Anecdote — Letter to James Folwell-*-Conversion 
of John Hopper — Revival influence — Mr. Bartine supernume- 
rary — Messrs. Long and Day sent to the circuit — Reflections 
upon the ministerial trio — Extract from diary. 

The Philadelphia Conference of 1832 was held at 
Wilmington, and Mr. Stewart haying passed accept- 
ably and creditably through the two years of his pro- 
bation, took an affectionate leaye of his friends upon 
the mission, among whom were the spiritual children 
Grod had honored his ministrations with, to whom he 
was strongly attached, and repaired to that assembly 
for the purpose of giying the requisite proof of 
soundness in the faith, and being ordained for the 
exclusive work of the pastoral office. He was for- 
mally introduced to the body of clergymen, with 
whom he was to be permanently identified in extend- 
ing the kingdom of Christ, now rapidly enlarging, 
through the united and strenuous exertions of those 
holy and indomitable men. 



106 



LIFE OF 



Bishop Hedding was present, and presided at the 
session; he ordained Mr. Stewart on Sunday, the 
15th of April, and at its close, appointed him to 
Freehold Circuit, with David Bartine as preacher 
in charge. 

Although the previous year Mr. Stewart had had 
but comparatively few preaching places, it had been 
a season of peculiarly hard service. The entire labor 
and care of the church business, of attending the 
sick, and upon funerals, in addition to the general 
pastoral visitation — concerning which he was never 
remiss — devolved upon him. Prompt to the bidding 
of his Divine Master, and willing to pursue, as nearly 
as practicable, in the thorny path of his suffering 
Exemplar, he never murmured, but looking continu- 
ally to his sympathizing and omnipotent Friend, 
asked, and received, in Jesus' name, that almost 
supernatural strength, which carried him triumph- 
antly through. During the whole year in which he 
traversed the hills of Bergen, his pulpits were filled 
by other but their regular incumbent, only three 
times! 

The parsonage into which he moved on Freehold 
Circuit, was in Long Branch, a healthful town, lying 
within sound of the Atlantic's roar. This change 
from small pent-up rooms, in part of a house, to a 
large and convenient dwelling, within a half hour's 
walk of the sea, was as acceptable to the minister's 
family, as to the good man himself. It was about 
the middle of May when they arrived at their new 
home; the whole country was glowing with luxu- 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



107 



riant verdure and beauty, and nature — as generously 
as the friends who had gathered at the parsonage — 
seemed smiling a welcome to them. Mr. Stewart's 
heart went out in thankfulness to God, that his lot 
was cast in such a pleasant place, among a people, so 
many of whom were evidently sincere and kind- 
spirited Christians. 

The circuit was large; besides including eight 
principal appointments, it presented a number of 
minor ones, where the preachers had been accustomed 
to hold forth in private, or school-houses. Four 
hundred miles were traversed in going around once. 
Mr. Stewart was, of course, obliged to have recourse 
again to a horse and dearborn. Three weeks were 
required to make one circuit and preach at each 
place; every fourth, he called " rest week," and passed 
at home in study and preparation for the ensuing 
campaign. Long Branch exhibited a membership of 
nearly two hundred, which was the largest upon the 
circuit. At Squankum there was a good-sized mem- 
bership of genuine, whole-souled disciples of the 
cross, also, at Bethany, Eumson, and Middle-town, 
and High Points. At the first of this list, before the 
expiration of one year, the church was enlarged, and 
then scarcely accommodated the congregations which 
assembled on every occasion of public service. In 
the town of Freehold, there was neither church edi- 
fice nor Methodist member; an appointment was at 
once made there, and preaching was had statedly. A 
revival followed, and in 1S33, a handsome church 
was erected. Eed Bank, a brisk town,' at the head 



108 



LIFE OF 



of Shrewsbury Bay, was also adopted by the circuit, 
and, although there were but two Methodist families 
in the place, by the assistance of the brethren of 
Rumson and Tilton Falls, villages a few miles dis- 
tant, an excellent audience was soon obtained, and 
the Spirit was poured out upon the people copiously. 
Mr. Stewart, it is supposed, was the first Methodist 
who ever preached in Eed Bank. 

The Christians of the circuit were delighted with 
the zeal displayed and wonders performed by the 
colleagues this year. Mr. Bartine was a man " mighty 
in the Scriptures," and no less powerful in prayer. 
His sermons were heavily charged with heart-reach- 
ing truths, and they were aimed with irresistible effect 
to the consciences of sinners; so that, despite his age 
— about sixty — he was a most successful preacher of 
the gospel of Christ. 

Mr. Stewart, with the distinguishing characteristics 
of early Methodism, was possessed of unwavering 
faith in Grod, untiring perseverance in labor, and a 
remarkable power in applying the truth singly and 
personally. "I preach to thee, sinner! My message 
to-day is to bring thee to bethink thyself of thy past 
ways," &c. 

He was altogether untrammeled by the rules of 
logic or rhetoric; but in detached sentences, and 
blunt phrases, what, in this refined day, would be 
called " no preaching at all," he shouted the truth to 
the people with a power that made sinners stand ap- 
palled in their danger. His great force lay, rather, 
in impulsive, animated, startling exhortation, than in 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



109 



rich and beautiful sentiment, or abstruse theological 
argumentation. He was, in the fullest sense, " a min- 
ister to the heart," and suitable for the masses. He 
cared not to tingle the ears of critics with finely- 
wrought sentences, or elaborate episodes, he desired 
rather a full measure of faith and grace than "a 
magnificent talent." 

While Mr. Bartine produced to his hearers " things 
new and old," Mr. Stewart brought forth old truths, 
clad in garbs of plain, practical, matter-of-fact tex- 
ture, that told instantly upon the old sinner, who had 
viewed the same in beautiful array, a thousand 
times, without effect. So, devotionally, zealously, 
harmoniously, worked these servants of the living 
God, together ; and, at the summing up of the con- 
verted, prior to Conference in the spring of 1833, 
the names of seven hundred souls were found! Eevi- 
vals were enjoyed at every appointment on the cir- 
cuit. Long Branch added one hundred to her 
strength ; Bethany, Squankum, Colt's Neck, Middle- 
town Point, Freehold, and the Trap, enjoyed seasons 
long to be remembered on account of the display of 
God's convicting and converting power. 

When Mr. Stewart first entered the pulpit of the 
church at a little town called Squan Keck, which was, 
from the multitude of appointments, compelled to be 
placed on the Saturday list, his congregations num- 
bered about twenty-five individuals. He was greatly 
annoyed by the perpetual ten-pound-ten of a black- 
smith's sledge on one side of the church, and the in- 
cessant rap, rap, rap of a shoemaker's hammer on the 
10 



110 LIFE OF 



other. Growing animated as he advanced in his all 
absorbing theme, he forgot the objects of interrup- 
tion, and elevating his sonorous voice louder still as 
he attained " the application," and stamping his ec- 
clesiastical foot upon the carpetless platform with 
startling gusto, the mechanics deserted their places 
of business and approached near enough to hear the 
"closing remarks" and the date of the minister's suc- 
ceeding advent; upon which occasion the church was 
well filled, and every mechanic of the village was in 
attendance, clad in his Sabbath day attire. On his 
return from this first visit to the various localities in 
which he was to labor during the succeeding two 
years, he indited the following letter to Mr. James 
Folwell. Its caption is — 

Long Branch, May 28, 1832. 

Dear Brother : I have just returned from a tour 
on my circuit, and was much blessed and refreshed 
in spirit. I found a very simple, teachable, and af- 
fectionate people who received me as a divinely au- 
thorized messenger of the cross of Christ. I labor 
among them with much satisfaction. I preached last 
Sabbath from " These men are the servants of the 
Most High God." (Acts xvi. 17.) God vouchsafed 
me much liberty. Also in the afternoon at Squan- 
kum. At the latter place many were inquiring 
what they should do to be saved. I received two 
into probationary membership. Oh, what weeping 
was there ! Some cried out, as of old, " God, be mer- 
ciful to me a sinner." There is room for work in the 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



Ill 



neighborhood of Long Branch. We can stand in one 
place and count a hundred and twenty houses, the 
majority of whose inmates are in the state of nature's 
darkness. There is, I think, much hope, though, 
unless they are very much hardened. The people 
flock to the prayer meetings, which are held from time 
to time in private houses. We are compelled to con- 
ceal them from the public, lest they come in multitudes 
that could not be accommodated. Pray for us at this 
interesting time. I ofteu think of the affectionate 
friends in Imlaystown, and of the kind treatment I 
received at their hands when I was a sojourner among 
them. I am every day making new acquaintances, 
but these, though pleasant, have no tendency to wean 
from old and well tried friends ! I shall never find a 
people dearer to me than those of your town and 
Allentown. The last time I was in Bethany we were 
favored with an unusual outpouring of the Spirit; 
several individuals lost their strength and conscious- 
ness, falling on the floor and lying for several hours. 
Many rejoiced in the knowledge of pardoned sin, and 
some were induced to sue for mercy. 

My family are well with the exception of Martha, 
the youngest, who has the whooping-cough. We are 
pleasantly situated, and would be glad to receive a 
visit from you at any time. Our neighbors are 
peaceable and kind. Brother Sayers keeps a board- 
ing-house immediately on the sea. We resort thither 
frequently, and view this great body of water so fear- 
fully beautiful. I preached a few days since at the 
Monmouth County "poor-house." It contains over 



112 



LIFE OF 



one hundred inmates; some of them are pious, others 
impious. My sympathies were awakened for them ; 
the tottering white head, the shaking paralytic, the 
unfortunate youth ! I have a heart that sympathizes 
with physical anguish as well as mental suffering. 

A man that has naught to bestow, 
Can at least give the wretched a tear ; 

It will soothe the affliction of woe, 
When no other comfort is near. 

In this case I was like Peter, silver and gold were 
not mine to bestow, but such as I had, was dispensed 
freely. I have a comfortable support, but the salary 
of a Methodist preacher forbids charity to any great 
extent. The gospel is free and I have the unspeaka- 
ble privilege of recommending its benefits to the 
poor. This gives pleasure and contentment under 
all circumstances. I ask no higher honor than to 
be employed in benefiting my fellow men. Had I 
my whole life to re-live I would spend it in the vine- 
yard of our Lord. How much of my time has been 
squandered! But the reflection that I have been 
instrumental in doing a little good, yields me a ray 
of comfort — yes, a comfort I cannot express. "When 
I contemplate yonder world of bliss, I feel perfectly 
resigned to remain a pilgrim and stranger, to suffer 
on my threescore years till my Deliverer come. I 
will endure hardness as a good soldier of the mani- 
fold grace of God. Much is expected of a minister 
of the gospel. What holy ground do I occupy! 
How far short do I fall of filling up the measure of 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



113 



the sufferings of Christ! Pray that my bow may 
abide in strength — that I may be a holy preacher of 
a holy gospel. 

Present my respects to your dear mother. I trust 
her children will be a great comfort to her in the 
decline of life. To honor our parents is the first 
commandment with promise. I have recently heard 
of the death of my mother. / rejoice to know that she 
was soundly converted before her death. 

Do not be discouraged, dear James, by anything 
which you may encounter ; expect to meet with con- 
trary winds on your Christian voyage. The severer 
the combat in the warfare the greater the deliverance. 
"Be faithful over a few things" is the injunction, 
"and I will make thee ruler over many things" is the 
promise. Seek nothing from this world. One day 
in the courts of Zion is better than a thousand in the 
tents of wickedness. When we reach Heaven we 
shall share "an inheritance which is incorruptible, 
and undefiled, and that fadeth not away." But the 
poor, unfortunate sinner must be dragged away with 
those whose only inheritance is " a lake that burneth." 
Affliction, despair, rage, remorse, brokenness of heart, 
horror — these are but feeble expressions of the misery 
of the undying worm. Tell your sister Susan to 
walk in the footsteps of one who has gone on; the 
track leads upwards. Say to your youngest sister — 
though I am unworthy to advise her — that she should 
not throw her youthful moments to the wind. A 
misspent morning will cause a sorrowful evening. 
I desire also to be remembered to Elizabeth and 

10* 



114 



LIFE OF 



Ann ; the time spent in their religious society is al- 
ways profitable to me. Kemember me also to my 
other friends in and out of the church. 

Yours cordially, 

THOS. Cr. STEWART. 
To Mr. James Folwell, Imlaystown, N. J. 

There resided in Long Branch Mr. John Hopper, 
a retired gentleman, now far advanced in years, who 
had amassed considerable wealth by a successful 
business career in the city of New York. He was 
corpulent in body, liberal in heart, and patient under 
physical suffering, but without that spiritual solace 
which brings light upon the evening of life. His 
wife had lived for many years a faithful and exem- 
plary member of old John Street M. E. Church, and 
died rejoicing in the plenitude of Christ's mercy and 
grace. Mrs. Maria Ferguson, the widowed daughter 
who was now the stay and comfort of his declining 
years, was a firm friend of the Methodist church. 
Through this excellent lady Mr. Stewart became in- 
timately acquainted with Mr. Hopper, and, as was 
his custom, when opportunity presented a proper oc- 
casion of counselling the unregenerate, he conversed 
pointedly with the aged man upon the all important 
subject connected with the eternal interests of his 
soul. He was eventually led to acknowledge him- 
self a wretch undone without God's pardoning grace, 
and requested that his spiritual adviser should pray 
for his conversion. He attended the church with his 
daughter, and he was advised by the pastor to "take 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



115 



up the cross," come out decidedly and boldly on the 
Lord's side, showing to the world that he was re- 
solved to give God his heart, and henceforth serve 
him with full purpose of spirit, till called to a blessed 
existence with his Saviour up in Heaven. After 
listening to the preached word with singular immo- 
bility during so many years, permitting multiplied 
warnings to fall ineffectually upon his ear, and delay- 
ing till a more convenient season the setting out on 
Christian pilgrimage, the first step towards a result 
so desirable and important, was exceedingly difficult 
to take. 

Ah ! with each, added year, the work becomes more 
laborious ; and most frequently, alas, those who defer 
until threescore and ten that preparation for death, 
which the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit 
have been all their life-long inviting them to per- 
form, goes undone altogether; the aged pensioner of 
God's bounty ceases to feel as erst he felt ; the start 
requires more vigorous effort than when greater sor- 
row on account of sin was' experienced ; the wily 
tempter suggests " too late, when the buoyancy of life 
is fled," and he dies unprepared to stand composedly 
before the awful Judge of the quick and dead. 

Mr. Hopper pleaded fear of excitement, apprehen- 
sion of apoplexy, or sudden attack of other ailments 
to which he was subject. During one of Mr. 
Stewart's terribly soul- stirring exhortations, how- 
ever, the invalid forgot his fears in the intense 
anxiety which he experienced, and slowly moving 
up the aisle of the church, he bowed an humble 



116 



LIFE OF 



suppliant at the feet of Jesus, his long neglected 
friend. The work was now commenced. In a few 
weeks it ran " like fire in a dry stubble," through 
all the circuit, and continuing to burn with an 
increasing conflagration of divine love upon each 
Christian's heart, scores and hundreds were sanctified 
from all inbred impurity, while Heaven's glorified 
choristers doubtless made the celestial arches ring 
with a loud, triumphant song of jubilee. 

Father Hopper was not injured by the experiment 
of going to the altar ; on the contrary, supernatural 
strength was vouchsafed, by which, in a few minutes, 
he was enabled to lay hold on the hope of the gospel 
and claim the blessed promise, "Him that cometh 
unto me I will in no wise cast out ;" in a conscious- 
ness of which, he praised God for all the unnumbered 
mercies of the past and the salvation through Christ's 
blood, of which he knew himself a favored partaker 
by the clear, indisputable witness of the Holy Spirit. 
He attained his eightieth year, and died to receive 
the reward of the sanctified. 

The following conference year, Mr. Bartine be- 
came a supernumerary, and retired to his farm near 
Princeton to await the call of his Lord to a better 
country. How delightful must have been the recol- 
lection of that last successful year to this time 
honored minister, and with what rapture will he 
hail on the slopes of immortality the children with 
whom God blessed his ministry upon Freehold 
Circuit ! 

The circuit was re-arranged and made "a six 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



117 



weeks territory;" Eevs. James LoDg and Mulford 
Day were appointed as coadjutors of Mr. Stewart, 
the former assuming the charge. Mr. Long came, 
a widower with one daughter, and before the elapse 
of a year, married an estimable lady at an appoint- 
ment on the Shirk Kiver. Mr. Day brought a loved 
companion and three children ; five weeks subsequent 
to his arrival, in the soft dawn of summer, when 
bright green verdure clothed the trees and the first 
roses were shedding their fragrance, the wife and 
mother received a summons from the spirit land, and 
she smiled upon and bade adieu to her earth-treasures, 
and went away with angels to Jesus. 

Early, bright, transient, chaste as morning dew, 
She sparkled, was exhaled, and went to heaven. 

This year the work continued to revive, and three 
hundred were added to the church, such as it was 
hoped should be eternally saved, reaching the round 
number of one thousand converts in the two years of 
Mr. Stewart's sojourn upon that circuit. With his 
colleagues in 1838, he enjoyed perfect and uninter- 
rupted harmony; the three ambassadors of God 
worked hard together, and worked hard perpetually, 
as men burdened with a ponderous weight of 
responsibility ; as men willing to " endure all things 
that they also might obtain the salvation which is in 
Christ Jesus with eternal glory." 

These soldiers in the army of Israel have all 
passed away from earth, and doubtless shout the 
praises of him whose gospel they faithfully preached, 



118 



LIFE OF 



in the immediate and glorious presence of the 
Crucified. Joyous thought! Oh, let those who 
heard their holy voices emulate their graces, and 
remembering the words of counsel that fell from 
their lips, strive in the strength of the Omnipotent 
to work out their salvation, treasuring the blessed 
sentiment of the apostle, "Be not weary in well 
doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint 
not." Have any apostatized? Let them think of 
those men who labored for their conversion with 
exhortations; faithful exhortations and prayers, 
strong cries and tears, unremitting efforts and visi- 
tation. But above all, recollecting the sufferings of 
the dear Son of God, let them place their cause once 
again in his hands and cry : — 

Return, holy Dove, return, 

Sweet messenger of rest ; 
I hate the sins that made thee mourn, 

And drove thee from my breast. 

Mr. Stewart's diary of May 25th, says: — 
"Preached at Littleton Herbert's, away down in 
the pines, to a few souls almost starving for the 
bread of life. Speaker and hearers were profited. 
Put up at Moses Bennet's, where I was treated like 
a king, too well for one so unworthy as I. Am only 
twelve miles from my good friends at Tom's Eiver, 
would dearly love to run over and see them! 

"26th. Preached at Brother Bennet's this evening. 
A powerful time. One old sinner cried aloud for 
mercy ! We had a meeting after the style of those 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



119 



witnessed by Benjamin Abbott. The saints were 
not ashamed to shout? 

June 3d. He says : " I am at High Point. Preached 
this morning. The Spirit of the Lord was present. 
Many wept; others shouted; penitents moaned on 
account of broken hearts! Eode through rain, and 
preached at Bethany in the evening. Afterwards led 
class ; the power of God descended ; we had a time 
long to be remembered, because of the presence of 
the Comforter. People were shouting in all parts of 
the house ; some fell prostrate, and lay upon the floor 
like dead men; others sang, prayed, and rejoiced, 
till 2 o'clock in the morning ! Two rebels were con- 
verted after midnight, and forthwith following (un- 
consciously) the example of their preacher, assumed 
the prerogative of exhorter, and besought their 
friends to seek the Saviour in the pardon of their 
sins. The wicked heard, felt, and trembled. We 
shall have a great work here! 

" June 5th. Preached this evening at Brother Foun- 
tain's, seven miles from Middletown Point. Here I 
saw a very singular phenomenon, or else it was an 
optical delusion. A streak of fire came through the 
ceiling, and passed down through the floor of the 
apartment in which we were assembled ! The effect 
I am positive was not a delusion — the people fell all 
over the floor ! I closed the Bible, and surrendered 
to the workings of the Spirit! The Lord was 
preaching in his own way ! Saints were powerfully 
blest, sinners were convicted, and the little society in 
this neighborhood was built up. 



120 



LIFE OF 



" June 6th. Preached at Benjamin Brown's. God 
was there, and his power was felt. Tears were shed 
plentifully. A Presbyterian brother who had come 
in among us, said : 1 We had a good time.' 

"June 7th. Preached at Mount Pleasant. The 
people present were much engaged. Three good sis- 
ters walked twelve miles ! Four others walked eight 
miles! I remarked — 'You come a long distance, 
sisters.' ' Bless Grod,' said they, £ we have meeting 
all the way home.' 

"June 10th. Preached at Long Branch in the 
morning, Eumson in the afternoon, and at 'the 
Branch' again in the evening. Two were converted 
to night, and thirty fell beneath the mighty power of 
the Spirit." 

Grod, thou art my God alone, 

Early to thee my soul shall cry ; 
A pilgrim in a land unknown, 

A thirsty land, whose springs are dry. 

Thee, in the watches of the night, 

When I remember on my bed ; 
Thy presence makes my darkness light, 

Thy guardian wings are round my head. 

Better than life itself thy love, 

Dearer than all beside to me ; 
For whom have I in heaven above, 

Or what on earth compared with thee ? 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWAET. 



121 



CHAPTER VII. 

FEEEHOLD AND TUCKEETON CIECUITS. 

Letter to James Folwell — Mr. Stewart at Long Branch — Kind 
friends — William Throckmorton robbed by three ministers — 
Death of a saint — Conversion of his brother — A letter — Revival 
at Squankum — Hance Herbert — A ball-room changed into a 
prayer-room — Eatontown — William Rodgers — Joseph Goode- 
nough — Tuckerton Circuit — Illness of Mr. Stewart — Letter — 
Appointed to Isew Egypt, but returns to Manahocking. 

To Mr. Folwell, under date of August 6th, Mr. 
Stewart writes : — 

Dear Beothee: Agreeably to my promise, I 
embrace this opportunity, indeed I should say seize 
the moment to write you, for my time has been so 
much engrossed with' preaching and in pulpit pre- 
paration that I have scarcely been able to call time 
mine. The great Head of the church is pouring out 
his spirit in an unusual manner. Hundreds are 
seeking the salvation of their souls on this circuit. 
I preached last Tuesday at a place where the congre- 
gation has increased in fifteen months, from twenty to 
five hundred/ Oh, James, it is astonishing to see 
the overwhelming power of God in its operations 
upon sinners ! Woe is depicted in the faces of our 
11 



122 



LIFE OF 



weeping, wondering audiences. At one village there 
are only remaining six unconverted, unmarried 
individuals. The older people look on, and I fear 
they will only " look on," till it is too late ! In 
Bethany we have received forty new members. At 
almost every meeting some receive a change of 
heart. I am not well, but when preaching, am in 
my element. This is the course in which I wish to 
spend my life ! Our camp-meeting commences the 
third of September. Write your preachers to attend, 
we shall need their help. Please have it published 
in your meetings, and affectionately invite the friends 
for me. I am to preach this evening elevem miles 
from home. I cannot employ anybody to do my 
preaching. I hope to see your sister Ann before 
her return to her home in Wilmington. I have 
not forgotten my cordial reception into her house 
at conference. May a kind Providence smooth her 
path to a happier clime ! I often fancy myself seated 
under your trees conversing with you. Tell Eliza- 
beth, that though I feel unworthy of it, I am not 
insensible to her kindness. When I have leisure I 
will again write. 

I am yours affectionately, 

THOS. a. STEWART. 

Through the whole of these two years, Mr. Stewart 
continued his public ministrations without the 
slightest abatement. Day and night, early and late, 
he was driving through sunshine and rain, mud and 
water, with the precious name of Jesus forever on 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



123 



his lips. He seldom omitted preaching once every 
week day and thrice on the Sabbath. His prolonged 
absence from home was painfully felt by Mrs. 
Stewart, and "the rest week" was hailed by his 
children with unutterable delight. When, after 
watching anxiously from the windows, his beloved 
form was at length descried, they ran to meet him, 
and embracing him in turn, shed tears of inexpres- 
sible joy upon his bosom. 

In his long ministerial career, habit never, to his 
wife, seemed to decrease the pain of separation, 
although with four children to care for and look 
after, every hour was in a great measure occupied. 
She had kind and attentive neighbors in the families 
of William Throckmorton, Philip Dennis, Michael 
Mapps, and John Hopper, all of whom by this 
pleasant connection became greatly endeared to her. 
While it was evident to all that her husband had 
but one object in view — the salvation of men and 
the glory of God — it was equally plain that she 
strove only to render herself a child of heaven and 
a proper helpmeet for an old-fashioned Methodist 
preacher. 

Brother William Throckmorton, though not " an 
officer," nor even what, in the usual acceptation of 
the term, is styled " an active member" in the church, 
was an humble benefiter ; the entire extent of whose 
utility for the church will never be known in this 
world. His house was, during twenty-five years, 
the home of the ministers of the gospel ; in it was 
an apartment called " The Preachers' Room," pro- 



124 



LIFE OF 



vided with books, stove, sofa, &c, and set apart for 
the exclusive occupancy of the fraternity in their 
periodical visitations. Three among the entertained 
. clergy expressed the gratitude of their insatiate 
hearts in a peculiar manner, each rolling the generous 
man of one of his household treasures. Samuel, his 
eldest son, was consecrated to the sacred office. He 
entered the itinerancy in his twenty-second year. 
In two short years he returned to his father's house, 
rendered inadequate to his labors from the effect of 
a hemorrhage. This was in 1829. Four years he 
lingered upon the earth a patient sufferer. His 
confidence was strong for the realization of the 
truth of the glorious apostolic declaration, "Our 
light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh 
out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight 
of glory." 

When this young man, who had been resolved 
upon " doing the work of an evangelist, and giving 
full proof of his ministry," felt that his dissolution 
was near, he, in prospect of a speedy union with the 
Saviour, experienced a sweet peace, and a celestial 
hope, and exercised an invincible faith which averted 
every peculiar temptation that usually signalizes the 
last ferocious attack of our inveterate foe. Samuel 
Throckmorton, from the first, betrayed an uncompro- 
mising antagonism for the arch enemy, which he was 
never known to shrink from after the hour of his 
conversion. 

He calmly bade each member of the family fare- 
well, and passed away on the evening of the 7th of 
February, 1833. He exhorted his junior brother, who 



EEV. THOMAS Gr. STEWAET. 



125 



was still "an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, 
and a stranger to the covenant of promise," to delay 
no longer a preparation for that change which must 
sooner or later pass upon all. Mrs. Stewart, who 
was present, and closed the eyes of the deserted body, 
attests that all, within the solemn inclosure of that 
room from which the freed spirit took its joyous 
flight, realized the truth of the sentiment — 

" The chamber where the good man meets his fate, 
Is privileged beyond the common walk 
Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of heaven." 

The Sabbath of Samuel's burial, the brother 
yielded his heart, so long withheld from its rightful 
possessor, and became a happy recipient of his par- 
doning love. A glorious revival ensued, and thirty- 
three united with the church at Long Branch. 

A letter written to a friend, dated January 25th, 
betrays the feeling of brotherly affection, humility, 
and rejoicing in hope, which always pervaded Mr. 
Stewart's heart. 

Dear Brother: I received your acceptable letter 
in the month of December. It was very gratifying 
to a heart like mine; it shows what power religion 
possesses to cement the hearts of strangers. Wo 
longer strangers, but brethren of " the household of 
faith." The Christian's heart breathes a language 
sweet as that of angels. I think of you all in that 
country frequently — of the interesting seasons of 
Christian intercourse we have enjoyed. Your letter 
wakes many tender recollections. I have been ac- 
11* 



126 



LIFE OF 



customed to privations, but that of not beholding 
the faces of my Christian friends is the most severe 
I ever endured. I have some faithful correspondents 
that now and then send " a wish and a thought after 
me," and oh! how welcome are the little messengers. 
Sometimes, when traveling alone, I draw out these 
letters and read them over and over again. But, dear 
brother, if we walk through deep waters, the deliver- 
ance will be the greater; the contrast of extreme 
suffering here and the glory of the upper kingdom 
will be very striking. A man with a craving appe- 
tite enjoys eating, an individual suffering with cold 
enjoys the fire; if we suffer for the gospel's sake, 
what will we not enjoy in resting with God in heaven. 

I love to tell the story of the manger and the cross ; 
the path of duty is, to me, a field of glory. Here let 
me triumph. The Christian has a guide; he has sup- 
plies — he is not solitary. " Behold," says Glod to 
Israel, " I send an angel before thee to keep thee in 
the way, and to bring thee into the place which I 
have prepared." What encouragement for the Chris- 
tian to be faithful till death. All is well this side 
the grave, all is triumph beyond. Oh, Heaven ! death 
no more ; sin barred out forever. Eternity of bliss ! 
" Bye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have en- 
tered the heart of man the things prepared for them 
that love him." Hallelujah ! Amen ! 

Think of this, oh ! brother, and let us stand up to 
our work. My father and mother are now both 
dead ; 1 trust they are in heaven. I expect to join 
them. Tell your dear mother I am grateful for the 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



127 



affection she entertains for a poor ambassador of the 
cross, and that she thinks me worthy of her friendly 
notice. Eemember me kindly to all who inquire 
about me. I have heard from nobody but you in 
that neighborhood for a long time — tell me how they 
are ; I need not name them — I love every one, I am 
bound to them by ties of a spiritual nature, and these 
ties time nor death can sunder. I have much to say, 
but hope soon to see you face to face. Adieu. 
Your very affectionate brother, 

THOS. a. STEWART. 

Upon the occasion of Mr. Stewart's first preaching 
at Squankum, which was a Sabbath day appoint- 
ment, his heart fainted within him to behold the re- 
ligious sterility of the neighborhood, and the fearful 
torpor which seemed to have settled down with al- 
most universal sanction, upon the professing men and 
women of the community. He conferred with the 
preacher in charge, and informed him that of fifty 
members only eleven were sufficiently interested for 
their souls' welfare, or zealous for God's Kingdom, 
to attend meeting in the church. This was a mani- 
festly deplorable state of affairs. What should be 
done? After a number of suggestions had been 
made and seriously revolved; facts had been brought 
forward, and reflected upon ; the immediate necessi- 
ties of the case taken into profound consideration, a 
series of evening meetings was appointed, and Mr. 
Stewart deputed to carry them forward. 

The first week of this extra effort he alternated 



128 



LIFE OF 



in the pulpit with Joseph Groodenough, a local bro- 
ther, residing in the village. During the prayer 
meetings, from the scarcity of praying members, he 
was accustomed to alternate with the few who lifted 
their heart and voice to "the throne of the heavenly 
grace ;" sometimes exercising in this capacity half a 
dozen times or more in one evening. The second 
week William Eodgers, a local preacher from Tur- 
key, reinforced the strength at Squankum, and the 
meetings increased rapidly in interest and numbers. 
The third week, the Spirit of the Lord began to be 
poured out in answer to the fervent, effectual prayers 
of these servants of Grod. Weak saints were strength- 
ened, backsliders were reclaimed, sinners convicted 
and brought to a saving knowledge of the truth, and 
hundreds of rejoicing Christians assembled nightly in 
the village temple. Mr. Hance Herbert, a gentleman 
of wealth and influence, who had, for a number of 
years attended the Methodist Church on the Sabbath, 
and given of his substance toward the support of the 
gospel, was personally appealed to by Mr. Stewart 
in the public congregation, and subsequently visited 
upon his farm, where with that warmth of feeling 
and enthusiastic solicitude which characterized this 
persevering man, he urged upon his awakened friend 
the importance of setting out to serve the Lord Jesus 
Christ now! "It must be an instantaneous act ; why 
do men when appealed to say, In the future I will 
follow Jesus. How many hundreds of awakened 
sinners have learned, alas ! too late, the truth of the 
line — - 

Procrastination is the thief of time.' 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



129 



Doubtless hundreds are to-day lifting up their eyes 
in torment, and calling for water to cool their tongue, 
who uttered that fatal sentence — I will turn in with 
the offers of mercy, hut not just now" Mr. Herbert, 
with commendable resolution, commenced to seek the 
favor of God, through the atoning Son, at the instance 
of Mr. Stewart. He felt that the love which Christ 
conferred upon this servant of Gocl, to induce him to 
visit and implore him, with the superior excellence 
of character which was betrayed, to fly from his pre- 
sent dangerous position, must be more than terrestrial 
in its nature ; and in all his life having never yet 
been perfectly happy, nor even contented, he believed 
that religion was " the one thing needful." He came 
out boldly on the Lord's side, and others followed his 
salutary example. A son-in-law and a daughter were 
converted and connected themselves, among forty- 
eight others, with the society at Squankum. His 
estimable lady, who for many years had been a mem- 
ber of the Baptist church, transferred her seat to the 
Methodist church, and henceforward worshipped in 
"spirit and in truth" with her rejoicing family. 

Before the conclusion of this meeting, the congre- 
gation became too large for the dimensions of the 
church; a temporary shed was erected in an adjoin- 
ing woods, under which the people gathered and list- 
ened with eager ears to the preaching of the gospel 
as it fell from the lips of its holy expounders. 

The landlord of the village inn was attracted 
thither, and was led to a troubled consciousness of 
his sinful and perilous condition. After the pro- 



130 



LIFE OF 



tracted meetings terminated, a large apartment in the 
public house, formerly designated by the suggestive 
cognomen of " the Ball Koom," was thrown open for 
prayer-meetings; and Hance Herbert rejoiced in 
being appointed leader of this beneficial means of 
grace. Thus was the deformed moral aspect of " a 
valley of dry bones," changed to a land plentifully 
watered by streams of flowing, exhilarating waters. 
Joseph Goodenough and William Eodgers were ex- 
traordinary men. They bore the impress of that 
early class of Methodist preachers who "counted not 
their lives dear unto themselves, so that they might 
finish their course with joy, and the ministry which 
they had received of the Lord Jesus, to testify of the 
gospel of the grace of God." The former was always 
ready to open his mouth to tell of Christ's suffer- 
ings and death for " a world lying in wickedness ;" 
the latter had only to be apprised of a vacancy at 
any appointment on the circuit, to order his horse 
and gallop off thirty or forty miles and proclaim the 
blessings of the gospel to the best of his abilities, 
which were considered by no means indifferent. The 
material aid thus furnished the traveling preacher 
was beyond computation, and the good works of 
these brethren will doubtless follow them. Mr. 
Stewart returned to Long Branch after this extraor- 
dinary manifestation of God's power, as he declared, 
"uninjured by his extensive laborings, and with his 
spirit rather refreshed than exhausted by incessant 
exercises in the pulpit, and on the platform, in the 
midst of dense assemblies." 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



131 



From Squankum the attention of the colleagues 
was turned to Eatontown. A few weeks after we 
find Mr. Stewart writing from this place to a brother 
on Allentown Circuit. 

Pear Brother : I sit down to inform you in a 
few words what we have been doing lately on this 
circuit. In the last three weeks our revival has pro- 
gressed in Eatontown. Here have assembled the 
largest congregations to which I ever preached ex- 
cept, perhaps, in the woods at camp-meeting. Some 
of the brethren who could lay aside their temporal 
business, have done so, and have gone from place to 
place, endeavoring to do good in the name of God. 
Christians of other denominations have opened their 
doors to us. This is the true spirit. Sometimes we 
are compelled to go into the woods to give the people 
a chance to hear. Ninety -eight have joined the 
Church in this vicinity, during the last eleven days. 
If you wish, as you intimate, that I may be present 
at your dedication services, they must be upon a 
week-day, as it would be impossible for me to leave 
my appointments on the Sabbath. When I see you 
I will pay my subscription. Pardon me for not writ- 
ing sooner and more ; my constant engagements pre- 
vent. 

Your affectionate brother in Christ, 

THOS. G. STEWART. 

One appointment succeeding another was visited 
by these untiring ambassadors (local and itinerant), 



132 



LIFE OF 



until the result, as has been stated, was an ingather- 
ing of hundreds of precious souls, for whom Jesus 
poured out his life-blood on Calvary. The secret of 
the wonderful success which attended the preaching 
of the Word on Freehold Circuit was this : clergy and 
laity came up in extended and mighty phalanx, " to 
the help of the Lord against the mighty." 

Mr. Stewart, surveying with tearful eye and thank- 
ful heart the general field, at the termination of 
his ministrations among this united people, could 
not withhold the exclamation — "What hath God 
wrought?" The circuit loomed up before his mind, 
a tower of spiritual strength ; joined, compact, ener- 
getic, rejoicing in past success, confidently trusting 
in the almighty arm of Jehovah for the future. He 
was now fairly introduced into all the minutias of 
the traveling preacher's toils, trials, and perplexi- 
ties ; but he declared that the joy, peace, and glory , 
which he experienced in his heart continually, so 
completely overbalanced the opposite scale that the 
weight of its contents was scarcely perceptible. 

To one of his nature, possessing an affection 
almost effeminate, bound to hundreds by the strong- 
est tie that may cement hearts on earth — Christian 
love- — the feelings of his soul, at parting, were inde- 
scribable, unutterable, unimaginable. But this was 
placed in " the trial balance," and when he contem- 
plated the extensive fields of prospective labor ahead, 
and the short period allotted to him on earth to do 
his Master's business, he smiled a glad adieu to the 
many friends who extended the parting hand, bade 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



133 



them Grod-speed toward the better land, and hastened 
away to preach Christ crucified to strange hearts and 
unfamiliar faces. 

The pecuniary interests of the ministers were 
nobly and liberally responded to on Freehold Cir- 
cuit; nevertheless, many substantial demonstrations of 
private regard were made, from time to time, by indi- 
viduals. John Hopper, at Mr. Stewart's departure, 
placed in his hand a memorial, which more than 
served the purpose for which it was offered, and 
elicited the strongest gratitude of the recipient's 
heart. 

Upon the district included in this circuit, and over 
which three preachers presided, are now ten stationed 
pastors, ministering in holy things "to a peculiar 
people, zealous of good works." Long Branch 
seceded from the circuit in 1834, and Eev. J. K. 
Shaw was appointed to its first exclusive charge. 
He was, as he declared to his flock, " a tender and 
loving spiritual step-father ;" and by the assistance of 
the Omnipotent, in whom alone he trusted, nearly 
the whole of " the lambs" were preserved from escap- 
ing out of the fold of the church, and from the arms 
of the Shepherd. 

Ked Bank, Middletown Point, Key Port, and other 
of the old appointments, now individually support 
their preachers ; and scores of the children of those 
noble Christians of 1832 and 1833 live in the church, 
monuments of the truth of the proverb : " Train up 
a child in the way he should go, and when he is old 
he will not depart from it" At the Conference in 



134 



LIFE OF 



Philadelphia, which set April 9th, 1834, Mr. Stewart 
was ordained an elder, and sent to Tuckerton Circuit, 
intrusted with the new responsibility of " preacher 
in charge," with Rev. J. W. McDougal as colleague. 
He accepted the superintendency with reluctance, 
although willing to serve his brethren in whatever 
capacity they saw proper to appoint him. He 
loved to call sinners to repentance; to advise, counsel, 
and administer gentle reproof; but to preside, chief 
arbiter, at trials of erring Christians, and to be called 
to decide according to the convictions of his mind, 
which might be against the unfortunate accused, was 
strongly averse to his inclinations. He, however, 
received the office submissively, and resolved to dis- 
charge this, and every other duty imposed upon him, 
according to the persuasion of his mind, under the 
guidance of God. 

He removed from Long Branch to Manahocking, 
and upon reconnoitring his ground, which was 
rather a line than a circuit, the appointment lying in 
a continuous northerly direction along Barnegat 
Bay, he saw that labors of undiminished magnitude 
awaited him. The principal preaching places were 
Manahocking, Tuckerton, Barnegat, Fork River, 
Good Luck, West Creek, Dover Chapel, Green Bank, 
Bass River, and Wiretown. These, with sundry 
school-house missions, presented a field sufficiently 
extended to banish all fears of ennui, or tendency to 
supineness, from the mind of the colleagues. The 
reports of Mr. Stewart's doings elsewhere, having 
excited general attention in that part of the country, 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



135 



and stimulated the curiosity of some, the desire to 
hear him preach was universal, especially among the 
religious classes. 

His family arrived in the town, which was to be 
their residence for the ensuing two years, on Tues- 
day, April 22d. "Wednesday was passed in dispos- 
ing the furniture, and Thursday he went forth to 
bear his first message to the people committed to his 
charge. He teas absent a week. 

In Man allocking, Mrs. Stewart found warm and 
solicitous friends, both among the Methodists and 
Baptists, between whom the inhabitants were about 
equally divided. The families of Joseph Eandolph 
and John Cranmer were ever borne in lively and 
grateful remembrance, on account of their kindly 
proofs of esteem, and the Christian intercourse which 
was enjoyed. "Father Cranmer," by whom the 
minds of the minister's children were gratuitously 
instructed, and who evinced a paternal interest in 
their progress, was long remembered by the favored 
of his goodness. 

David Lowry, a liberal Presbyterian, frequently 
attended the Methodist Church, and, at the return of 
each " quarterly meeting," sent for Mrs. Stewart, to 
whom he donated the generous amount with which 
he assessed himself, in parcels of dry-goods, from the 
shelves of his store. 

The family of Judge Oliphant, although, like Mr. 
Lowry's, of a different religious creed, also displayed 
the beauty of the genuine Christian character and 
spirit, by assisting in the propagation of the glorious 



136 



LIFE OF 



gospel, through liberal donations to the Methodist 
preacher. 

On Tuckerton Circuit, Mr. Stewart encountered 
but little opposition to the cause of Methodism. 
This sect, of which Father Boem had been the chief 
representative, the year previous, had penetrated and 
reformed almost every corner of the tract along the 
bay. In the village of Tuckerton, there were a few 
Baptists, and a small church, but the waters were sel- 
dom troubled. 

Isaac Jenkins, an old class-leader at this place, 
was one of the men of that ao;e of whom the world 
seemed scarcely worthy. He was a man against 
whom none could bring a just accusation, either in 
reference to his religious character, or to his temporal 
business transactions. His house was, during many 
years, the home of the traveling preachers ; and the 
extraordinary kindness of his good wife is remem- 
bered till the present time by many an appreciative 
and thankful heart. At Green Bank, resided the 
great-souled Nicholas Sooy, who erected, with the 
means which God had given him, a neat church, 
supplied the necessary fuel from his lands, and lights 
from his storehouse, to a congregation whose limited 
numbers, and equally small means, proscribed that 
liberality which they had it in their hearts to ex- 
ercise. Brother Sooy's roof was also the frequent 
shelter of the itinerant, and his bounty to the Metho- 
dists, in that early day, will never be forgotten by 
those who enjoyed its cordiality. 

At the Dover Chapel was another champion of 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 137 

Methodism, in the person of Job Potter. He died 
but a short time since, in the full triumph of faith, 
over ninety years of age. At West Creek was Joel 
Haywood, a local preacher, whose willing aid, and 
not indifferent talents, were frequently called into 
requisition upon the circuit. To these holy men 
Mr. Stewart became warmly attached, and in retro- 
specting his twenty -four months upon the shore of 
Barnegat Bay, was always accustomed to speak of 
them in tones of highest commendation and love. 
At Bass Eiver, there was a Friends' meeting-house, 
which, not being used by that sect in the evenings, 
was, with commendable liberality, offered to the 
Methodists for public services, until a church, pro- 
posed to be erected, should be complete. Within 
this orthodox enclosure, where, until that time, 
supreme silence had reigned, almost without inter- 
ruption, Mr. Stewart preached, in his peculiar " cla- 
morous" style, until sinners were awakened and con- 
verted, and those old, quiet walls fairly shook again 
with the shouts of souls rejoicing in possession of 
the earnest of that inheritance which is " incorrupti- 
ble and undefiled." During the first year upon 
this circuit, gracious revivals prevailed in several 
places, the result, doubtless, of the strength of the 
full purpose which was put forth by the co-laborers 
in the service of the Lord. The last week in May, 
Mr. Stewart attended the Bargaintown camp- 
meeting; but few preachers were present, and his 
ear, always open to the application of an emerg- 
ency, listened with compliance to the requests of 

12* 



138 



LIFE OF 



his brethren; he preached four times in as many 
days ; labored in the only way it was possible for 
him to labor, " with his might," and returned home, 
sick ! 

The powers of the strongest men have their limits; 
Mr. Stewart, after the Bargaintown camp-meeting, 
was confined to his room four weeks — the result of 
a second hemorrhage. He was never restored to 
that degree of strength which he previously enjoyed; 
but as soon as convalescence sanctioned, he stood 
again at his loved post, to preach the Gospel of Christ, 
and to show the sinner " a pure river of water of 
life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of 
God and the Lamb." 

He had always been scrupulously diligent in ful- 
filling his appointments in his own circuit, and it 
was a source of the severest deprivation for him to 
be compelled to restrain himself from speaking for a 
few weeks. Until sufficiently recovered to preach 
"a full sermon," he traveled as much as ever heliad 
done, desiring to be present with the people of his 
beloved congregation, and assure them, in a few sen- 
tences, that " God hath power on earth to forgive 
sins," and that he does not, as an earthly physician, 
" heal the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly" 
but, with the application of the infallible Balm that 
is in Gilead, "makes the wounded every whit ivhole." 

From every sickness by God's word, 

From every foul disease 
Saved, and to perfect health restored, 

To perfect holiness. 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



139 



"Who walks in glorious liberty, 

To sin entirely dead ; 
The truth, the Son hath made him free, 

And he is free indeed. 

A letter to James Folwell, bearing date of Nov. 6. 

Dear Brother : I returned from the south part 
of my circuit on the 3d inst., and found your affec- 
tionate letter awaiting me. I was much gratified to 
hear from my friends in that place. It is storming 
this morning, and I seize the moments of leisure 
thereby afforded me, to communicate with you. The 
affection which your letter breathes sinks me into 
the dust of humility. What am I that I should be 
thus esteemed ? Yet your kindness could not lodge 
in a breast that would more highly appreciate it. 
Fain would I make a suitable return, were I able. 
Jesus said, "Ye shall be hated of all men for my 
name's sake." Some have been compelled to endure 
the animosity of a sinful world ; but I, the chief of 
unworthy ones, am treated well by saint and sinner. 
God is good to me; the tears fill my eyes often 
when I think of it. Christians of various orders 
solicit my poor assistance, and they pour their bless- 
ings upon my unworthy head. I trust I shall prove 
to the world by my pious zeal that I am not alto- 
gether unworthy the confidence they repose in me, 
and that my persevering efforts for the generation I 
profess to serve, will show that I am a lover of the 
souls of mankind. I intend that all I have — my 
property, life, interest, influence, all — shall go towards 
the advancement of man's religious condition and 



140 



LIFE OF 



the glory of God. I have long since shaken hands 
with and bade farewell to earthly pleasures ; I wear 
the world as a loose garment, ready to lay it aside at 
any time. 

The Lord pours out his spirit; every revolution 
we make on the circuit brings a number of souls 
into the fold of Christ. Last week I delivered ten 
regular sermons, besides exhortations and leading of 
classes. My strength is according to my day. It is 
doubtless in answer to prayer that I am supported ; 
I believe that a thousand prayers are offered for me 
each day of my life. 

I travel through all kinds of weather. I am con- 
stantly exposed to sudden changes, from heated 
churches to damp air, storms and sea-fogs, all of 
which are severe tests of the constitution ; I am sus- 
tained supernaturally. Perhaps I may be wooing a 
disease that will become seated, prey upon my system, 
and bring me eventually to the grave. What is the 
grave ? It 's conquered, sanctified and perfumed by 
the blood of Jesus, for his saints to slumber in till 
the resurrection. It was not in my power to attend 
your quarterly meeting; in fact I did not receive 
your invitation till the day it commenced. Be as- 
sured it would afford me indescribable pleasure to 
visit your place ; but the friends here are not willing 
that I should preach off the circuit. I am laboring 
among a lovely people, who show every mark of af- 
fection, and do all they can to make me happy and 
comfortable. But I cannot forget my old friends. 
My heart often travels over to Imlaystown and lin~ 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWAKT. 



141 



gers by the friendly fireside. You say I have friends 
there that love me. Oh ! I wish I was more worthy 
of it. You speak of your mother. The very name 
" mother" is cheering. I scarcely know the value of 
a mother, but oh ! I know full well the want of one. 
I am without father or mother, but they that do the 
will of my Father in heaven, are my mother and 
sister and brother. I acknowledge my feeling of 
gratitude to your sister Elizabeth for sending me a 
few lines to comfort and cheer my heart. She alludes 
to the interest I have taken in her eternal welfare. 
It makes me happy to be the instrument in render- 
ing others so. If I have been of service to her for 
spiritual good, the reflection will console my heart. 
There is no question iD my mind about recollecting 
in eternity the things of time, and if I may be the 
happy instrument in inducting you and her to the 
clime of bliss, I shall indeed rejoice, with no com- 
mon joy in that upper kingdom. The moments I 
have been permitted to pass with you have been 
profitable ones — particularly so was the last half 
hour I passed in your company. 

Oh ! my friends make an entire surrender of your 
hearts to God; dedicate your lives, time, talents to 
the service of the Lord Jesus Christ, and .not only 
be willing, but ready, to take up the cross (though 
persecutions surround you) and bear it. The Duke 
of Buckingham, when he had offended the king, 
prostrated himself at the feet of his sovereign and 
exclaimed, "Until I receive your gracious pardon, 
here will I lie." We are such subjects to Christ ; 



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LIFE OF 



lying at his feet, we implore forgiveness, and never 
rise till assured of pardon. Make all sacrifice for 
Christ; confront bravely all opposition, be fervent 
in prayer, unwavering in faith, and the word of the 
Lord must fail, or you will find all consolation in 
Christ. Tell Susan how I long for her salvation. 
Let us prepare, all of us, for heaven. The prince of 
Latin poets said, " I am writing for eternity." Let 
us remember that we are living for eternity. 

When a few more days are wasted, 
When a few more springs are o'er, 

When a few more griefs we've tasted, 
We shall rise to grieve no more ! 

I have been called upon to solemnize the rite of 
matrimony about seven miles distant, to-day. I 
hope it will clear away. Do not forget me at a 
throne of grace. 

Your unworthy, yet affectionate friend, 

THOS. Gr. STEWART. 

Mr. Stewart attended Conference March 30th, 
1835. It met at Philadelphia. The Bishop ap- 
pointed him to New Egypt Circuit, in response to a 
petition of the people. After the adjournment of 
the session, a good brother who resided within ten 
miles of this circuit, and who had a son lying so ill 
with consumption that it was thought dangerous to 
remove him, had an interview with the Bishop, 
explained the peculiar circumstances of the case, 
and asked to be favored by a change of his new 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



143 



appointment to New Egypt, so that his pastoral duties 
might be discharged without removal. The episcopal 
power was inclined to favor the applicant, and Mr. 
Stewart, passive in the matter, returned to his home in 
Manahocking, girded on the panoply of a soldier of 
Christ, and rode forth to resume command of his 
subordinate forces upon the field of his last year's 
victories. 

His colleague, during the first six months, was 
Eev. Eobert E. Morrison ; during the last six, 
Joseph Atwood, a young man sent out from Tucker- 
ton, under the presiding elder of the district. 

A camp-meeting held near Barnegat in August of 
this year, was blessed in the conversion of a number 
of souls and the general revivifying of the church. 
The cause of temperance rapidly advanced, and Mr. 
Stewart was repeatedly called upon to exercise in 
this primary department of Christianity. He applied 
himself to the work with his distinguishing reforma- 
tory ardor, and fruit was given him of his labor, 
many being induced to sign the abstinence pledge, 
and some, before his departure from the circuit, 
became hopeful converts of the Christian religion. 

He concluded his last year in the Tuckerton 
Circuit as he began the first, in strenuous and con- 
tinued efforts to edify the Kingdom of Christ, not 
only in numbers of justified, but in the purification 
of believers. He left this people, to whom he had 
become very strongly attached, with a confident 
hope, which he joyously expressed, of a glorious 
reunion " beyond this vale of tears." He employed 



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LIFE OF 



at the termination of his labors, that hymn which 
thousands have heard him sing, while tears rolled 
down his face and his heart was too deeply affected 
for utterance. 

And let our bodies part, 

To different climes repair, 
Inseparably joined in heart 

The friends of Jesus are. 
Jesus the corner stone, 

Did first our hearts unite, 
And still he keeps our spirits one 

Who walk with him in white. 

Oh ! let us still proceed 

In Jesus' work below, 
And following our triumphant head, 

To further conquests go. 
The vineyard of the Lord 

Before his laborers lies, 
And lo ! we seek the vast reward 

Which waits us in the skies. 

Oh ! let our heart and mind 

Continually ascend, 
That haven of repose to find 

Where all our labors end. 
Where all our toils are o'er, 

Our suffering and our pain, 
Who meet on that eternal shore, 

Shall never part again. 

-Oh ! happy, happy place, 

Where saints and angels meet ! 
There we shall see each other's face, 

And all our brethren greet. 
The church of the first-born, 

We shall with them be blessed, 
And crown'd with endless joy, return 

To our eternal rest. 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



145 



"With joy we shall behold, 

In yonder blest abode, 
The patriarchs and prophets old, 

And all the saints of God. 
Abr'am and Isaac there, 

And Jacob shall receive 
The followers of their faith and prayer 

Who now in bodies live. 

We shall our time beneath 

Live out in cheerful hope, 
And fearless pass the vale of death, 

And gain the mountain top. 
To gather home his own 

God shall his angels send, 
And bid our bliss, on earth begun, 

In deathless triumph end. 



13 



146 



LIFE OF 



CHAPTER VIII. 

MR. STEWART ON CROSSWICKS AND NEW EGYPT 
CIRCUITS. 

Abolitionism — Revival at Sharon — Conversion and death, of two 
young ladies — Euphemia Miller — A church, erected in three 
months — Revival in Allentown — Miss Catharine D. — Influence 
of one Christian — Letters — Removes to New Egypt — Limited 
quarters — A parsonage built — Church burnt — Cookstown 
camp-meeting — George R. — Charles Downs with Mr. Stewart 
— Holiness — A troublesome colleague — Illness — Letter — Visit- 
ing among all classes — Extract from diary — Reliable and prac- 
tical faith — Stanzas. 

The Conference, in 1836, directed Mr. Stewart to 
labor in Crosswicks Circuit. He had no colleague 
this year. His family were removed to Allentown, 
in which place he found a large church, about one 
hundred members, and a people, for the most part, 
sociable and spiritual. The appointments were Al- 
lentown, Crosswicks, Hightstown, Sharon, Grove- 
ville, Centreville, and several minor places yet wor- 
shipping in school-houses. Abolitionism, in its most 
excitable form, was at that time visiting the Northern 
States, and some of the appointments upon this cir- 
cuit were convulsed by it. At Allentown, a few had 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



147 



withdrawn their names from the church, avowing 
their intention to unite with some sect which did not 
favor slavery by an union with the South. Mr. 
Stewart's heart was deeply grieved by this deplorable 
aspect of affairs on his new charge. He was pained 
that men for whom Methodism had done everything, 
should desert its ranks for reasons, which, to his mind, 
seemed so trivial. He did not, however, enter into 
any private or public discussions on the subject ; but 
praying earnestly to the God of Jacob, armed him- 
self anew with the weapons of spiritual warfare, and 
went forth with undiminished faith and vigor to bat- 
tle against Satan, in any form in which he might 
clothe himself. The people soon perceived that he 
was a man come from God; his words were accom- 
panied by a divine authority and gracious unction — 
he went around his circuit the first time, calling con- 
tic ually upon God to direct and assist him. Mr. 
Stewart never, perhaps, felt a greater sense of no- 
thingness than at this time; he was "instant in 
prayer," and waited on his ministry without a day's 
cessation! Plenteously anointed with holy oil, he 
proclaimed the jubilee of the gospel, the acceptable 
year of the Lord, the day of deliverance to all that 
believed; constantly urging his hearers, "not to be 
overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good." 
The result of this course was the most desirable ; the 
attention of Christians was drawn to the work of 
salvation, and the abolition movement was made 
subservient to the impulses of the Christian re- 
ligion. His first revival was at Sharon. Kobert 



148 



LIFE OF 



Miller, Daniel Bowman and John Story were among 
the leading men of the appointment. They were 
abundant in labors for the saving of their unconverted 
friends — their doors were always open to the minis- 
ters of the gospel, and a liberal proportion of their 
means was given to the church. 

About forty, through the united effort of preacher 
and people, were taken into probationary member- 
ship at Sharon. Among the number were two young 
ladies, daughters of Presbyterians. They were not 
denied the privilege of attending the Methodist 
church by their parents, although entertaining a 
different creed, and this liberality resulted in the 
thorough conversion of both to the religion of our 
blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Less than 
twelve months afterwards, the elder sister died, re- 
joicing in prospect of a blissful immortality beyond 
the grave. Two young ladies of the name of Hulett 
gave their hearts to the Saviour, and were also made 
joyful recipients of Jesus' pardoning love, and one of 
these was called away from earth in less than six 
months after her conversion. Mr. Stewart visited her 
during her illness, which was summary and severe, 
and he found her calm, patient, and resigned to that 
divine will, into which she had, by the grace of God, 
merged her own, at the altar of Sharon Church. Oh! 
blessed must be the Christian's death, if faithful to the 
grace conferred. Triumphant were the last moments 
of these two young ladies — both were perfectly con- 
tent to rely upon the God who had delivered them 
from the bondage of sin ; neither doubted but that 



KEY. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



149 



Christ, who had promised to conduct safely through 
" the dark valley," was abundantly able, and would 
also perform that guiding service. In addressing 
the young, Mr. Stewart often referred to this. coinci- 
dence on Crosswicks Circuit. 

Euphemia Miller, a sister of Eobert, was an in- 
valuable assistant at this revival ; she visited those 
awakened by the Holy Spirit, encouraged the mourn- 
er in Zion, and wrestled in secret with the angel of 
God for a speedy and powerful outpouring of for- 
giving love upon all, inquiring what they must do 
to be saved. In promoting the work of the Lord, 
Mr. Stewart loved to see employed the talents of the 
local preachers, leaders, and the exemplary sisters; in 
prayer, and in such other ways as might conduce to 
the honor of the spiritual kingdom, and the glory of 
God. In this way he thought lukewarmness was 
destroyed, a holy union engendered, and individual 
zeal maintained. 

As an overseer of souls, Mr. Stewart frequently 
visited many families in the course of one day. 
These visits were short and spiritual. He endea- 
vored to ascertain the religious state of each mem- 
ber of the house, and, in tones of gentleness and 
love, exhorted the unconverted to seek the favor of 
God while he was on " the giving hand." 

What has been written of William Bramwell, 
may be said of Mr. Stewart. "He delighted to press 
the people to believe, but he did not omit to incul- 
cate the weighty matters of the law. He recom- 
mended a punctual attendance upon the public means 
13* 



150 



LIFE OF 



of grace, but he would not have any duty neglected 
at home. He insisted upon the necessity of private 
prayer, but he would not infringe upon the work of 
searching the Scriptures. He considered the reli- 
gion of Christ as an empty name, when it was desti- 
tute of love: that perfect, powerful, and operative 
principle, which leads to acts of universal good-will 
to man. He proclaimed — 1 Owe no man anything 
but love.'" 

At the second quarterly meeting in Crosswicks 
Circuit, in the Conference, the question was asked : — 

"Where shall our next quarterly meeting be 
held?" 

A brother replied : "At Groveville." 
"We have no church there." 
"We shall have a church there by the time it is 
needed." 

And, in three months, though at this time there 
was not a brick laid, nor a piece of lumber upon 
the ground, the new edifice was complete, and Eev. 
Eichard Pether bridge, the presiding elder, delivered 
at once the dedication and the quarterly sermon, to 
a crowded congregation, which had convened from 
all parts of the circuit. 

After Groveville, the next scene of Mr. Stewart's 
labors was Allentown. Here he was assisted by 
William Foster, a local preacher, and William I. 
Brown, Asher Hankison, and John McCabe, class- 
leaders. He was much esteemed in the town of his 
residence, -and his efforts were peculiarly beneficial, 
tending to heal the wound which the church had 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



151 



received from the agitation of the slavery question. 
He now saw the advantage which had risen from his 
wise resolution not to engage in any controversy 
appertaining collaterally to the church and the purer, 
greater influence he had obtained among the people, 
by keeping himself unspotted from the world, and 
only essaying, by the help of God, to rebuild the 
broken walls of Zion, and bring souls to Christ. 
Among the converts in Allentown, was Catharine 

D . She was visiting in the town ; her residence 

was several miles distant. "When first visited by the 
Holy Spirit's gracious influence, it was proudly and 
disdainfully thrust aside. Her state of feeling, in 
regard to the eternal interests of her soul, becoming 
intolerable, on account of the weight of conscious 
transgression that pressed upon her, she inquired of 
a friend : " To whom shall I go for consolation or 
direction ?" She was recommended to consult Mrs. 
Stewart, and calling upon the minister's wife, she 
unfolded the exercises of her mind to that lady, who 
pointed to the Eock that was cleft to receive her, 
and knelt with the penitent before a throne of grace. 
Maria Stewart, who was now deeply pious and cir- 
cumspect in her religious walk, united with her 
mother in earnest cries and supplications in behalf 

of Miss D , and, after an hour spent in this way, 

she departed, encouraged by a strong hope of pardon, 
but not yet realizing that indubitable evidence of 
forgiveness which she was assured it was her blessed 
privilege to enjoy. During three days, this young 
lady was unable to eat or sleep, so intense was her 



152 



LIFE OF 



longing after H the consolation of Israel." When, at 
length, "the opening heavens shone around her with 
beams of sacred bliss," she shouted aloud the praises 
of Immanuel's name. Eeturning to the paternal 
roof, she informed her family of the wonderful things 
the Lord had achieved in and for her; and so glow- 
ing and eloquent was her language, that two sisters 
and a brother were speedily "brought to a saving 
knowledge of the truth," through her example. The 
fire was spread from that to other domestic circles, 
and burning on the altar of many sincere hearts, 
with an increasing conflagration of divine love, the 
work of conversion yet more widely extended, until, 

through the instrumentality of the Misses D , a 

commodious church was erected, and the Christians 
of the vicinity worshipped in their own beautiful 
temple ! What may not one earnest, working Chris- 
tian accomplish, if he go forth imbued with the 
spirit, and assisted by the power of that Being who 
created and redeemed the world ? " So mightily 
grew the word of God and prevailed" all over this 
circuit. 

Mr. Stewart, being without assistance, necessarily 
labored hard, but his heart was abundantly blessed, 
in that he witnessed the arm of the Lord made bare, 
and the good pleasure of Christ prosper in his hands. 
While he was pleasantly and successfully laboring 
in the Lord's vineyard, he addressed numerous letters 
to his friends, which showed that, though sometimes 
rendered unfit for labor, he could not, for a single 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



153 



day, deprive himself of the pleasure which preaching 
the gospel afforded him. 

To James Folwell, October 6. 

Dear Brother: I have been several days seeking 
an opportunity to write you, but constant religious 
employments have engrossed my time. Be assured 
I have been prevented from that which would have 
been a great pleasure to me. But I wish I were 
more worthy of your attention. How my mind still 
clings to past scenes and former friends ! Since I 
wrote last, I was called to preach at a place called 
"Fresh Ponds." On the way I was compelled to 
cross a small bay or pond in a batteau ; I attempted 
to handle the oars, and sprained my shoulders. The 
pain occasioned, for several days, was acute as the 
toothache. I continued preaching, the while, never- 
theless. The imperative demand for labors in the 
gospel kingdom, prompts me to speak, sometimes, 
when quite weak. Since we separated, I have re- 
ceived about one hundred converted souls into the 
society, and the work is still progressing. I have 
witnessed some astonishing displays of the power of 
the gospel recently ; men and women weeping, groan- 
ing and agonizing ! These sights linger in my mind. 
Some of the good brethren followed me around from 
place to place, so interested were they in the work of 
salvation. I scarcely preach a sermon that some 
good effect is not produced ; yet I never felt my en- 
tire dependence on God more sensibly. I am be- 
holding what kings and prophets desired to see, and 



154 



LIFE OF 



my soul is delighted ! I am sometimes overwhelmed 
with the presence and power of him who hath sent 
me to preach salvation. My memory often recurs 
to the discourse which, by the help of God, I de- 
livered in Long Branch, when five hundred were 
powerfully blessed at once ! I never saw such a day 
as that. I was much humbled ! Another misfortune 
or accident befell me lately. I was traveling in my 
sulky, when my horse took fright and ran at full 
speed. Observing a narrow bridge ahead, and ap- 
prehending an overthrow, I leaped out, and in doing 
so, injured my leg and head. I was obliged to have 
recourse to crutches for several days. I think I nar- 
rowly escaped death. I have not omitted my ap- 
pointments, however, although I have delivered my 
messages standing on one foot. I have preached ten 
times this week, and must preach this (Saturday) 
evening, and three times to-morrow. " The harvest 
truly is great, but the laborers are few." 

If I continue to labor as I have, I know I must 
go down to the grave in a few years. I am con- 
stantly making new acquaintances, who treat me 
with the kindness of a relative. I thank the Lord 
for giving me favor in the sight of the people, while 
I labor in the kingdom and patience of Jesus. Pray 
for me that I may make full proof of my ministry. 

Oh ! how little I envy the world, the happiness its 
unconverted denizens enjoy ! I propose to fast oftener 
in the future than in the past ; I long for a more in- 
timate communion with Christ ! I strive to seek my 
all in the Lord ! I think I can say that it is my meat 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



155 



and drink to do his will. Oh! precious gospel! Oh! 
precious cross ! Precious Jesus ! May the God of the 
Christian speed the gospel car, until America, Europe, 
Asia, Africa, and the Islands of the Sea shall rejoice 
that "the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth" — and the 
earth become one universal blaze of glory! My only 
ambition is to go about doing good. I am willing to 
suffer, and wait with patience till my change come. 
I hope we shall share together the bliss of immor- 
tality. 

I am your humble servant, 

THOS. Gr. STEWART. 

To Mrs. Folwell. 

My Dear Sister: Your last words have followed 
me ever since I saw you. You said you were not 
doing enough in the cause of religion. Experience 
has taught me that I can enjoy but little of anything 
when remiss in the principal thing / Our Lord said, 
"If any man will come after me, let him deny him- 
self, take up his cross and follow me." A life ac- 
tively spent in seeking to grow in grace ourselves, 
and advance piety in others, will not only produce 
peace of conscience, but bring happiness to the soul, 
and glory to God ! Short of this, a Christian is out 
of his element — pardon me for speaking so plainly — 
I venture it on conviction of duty, and a solicitude 
which I feel for the happiness of a kind friend. I am 
conscious that I spent many of my early days inac- 
tively. Might they have been improved, I had been 
qualified for eminent usefulness. We cannot, how- 



156 



LIFE OF 



ever, be saved through our good works. If salvation 
were obtained by our own righteousness, all would 
fail; yet to claim the promises, we must use the ap- 
pointed means. Your daughter Susan informed me 
that she had but little comfort in anything. Eliza- 
beth, who was present, responded — M You should ob- 
tain religion, and then you would have a source of 
comfort." This was true; the soul is like Noah's 
dove; without union with God its preserver, it is 
always restless and uneasy — the mind is on flight ! 
And while the mind of the sinner is always dissatis- 
fied and stung with bitter chagrin, that of the Chris- 
tian has immensity of delight ! Susan has acted the 
part of a friend and a sister to me ; how then is my 
soul grieved when I see her, an enemy of God! "He 
that is not for me is against me." I shall pray for 
her and you. Prayer moves the arm that moves the 
world. I often try to pray that you may be espe- 
cially favored of God. What shall content if we have 
not this ? Oh! that Susan, that dear child of affec- 
tion, may prepare to meet us in heaven. If we get 
there, there will be no parting. I hope to meet my 
parents and hear the approbating voice of my Judge ! 

Here I sit, in the upper chamber of a private 
family, eight miles from my home and wife : here I 
sit and view mercy's streams of blood! Come, 
sister, join me in the sweet meditation. Adieu until 
I see you. 

Yours affectionately, 

THOS. Gr. STEWART. 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



157 



In the year 1837, the " New Jersey Conference" 
met for the first time, at Newark. Mr. Stewart's 
eldest son, James, had now arrived at twenty -one 
years of age, and returning home on a visit, went in 
company with Mrs. Stewart and his father, to the 
session. It commenced on Wednesday, and adjourn- 
ed the following Monday. Mr. Stewart remarks of 
this : " Our first session, after the division, was 
pleasant and even profitable. The missionary meet- 
ing, on the closing evening, was especially memora- 
ble." 

The New Egypt Circuit, which had been cut off 
from old Pemberton Circuit, this spring again peti- 
tioned for him, and he returned, after an absence of 
six years, to the scene of some of his earliest evan- 
gelical labors, this side the mountains. Some of the 
friends and fellow-helpers of former years had "put 
off the harness," and were taken to their eternal re- 
ward; others welcomed him warmly to their homes, 
and signified their readiness to enter again the active, 
united service of delightful memory. Among these 
were David Applegate, Richard Eobbins, and James 
Wilson, of Imlayshill, Samuel Hendrickson, of Im- 
laystown, and Daniel Piatt, of Jacobstown. 

In his former connection with them, Mr. Stewart 
was "junior preacher;" now, he was superintendent, 
and in fact all; for, during the first nine months, he 
had no colleague. When earnestly requested by the 
people, three years previous, a comfortable house 
had been taken, and everything conveniently ar- 
ranged to receive his family ceremoniously, but now 
14 



158 



LIFE OF 



apprehensive that their wishes would be unnoticed, 
this preparation had been neglected, and the minis- 
ter's family were obliged to contract themselves to 
the dimensions of two apartments, in the domicil of 
David Compton, a gentleman in New Egypt, who, 
though not a professor of religion, betrayed a lauda- 
ble spirit of accommodation. In a few months, how- 
ever, a large parsonage was erected, in a beautiful 
location, adjoining the residence of Dr. George Fort, 
in the suburbs of the town. There were eleven 
appointments at this time in New Egypt Circuit, 
and Mr. Stewart had again an undiminished prospect 
of labor. He came among the people undaunted by 
this hard view ; declaring that he believed his 
strength would be according to his day, and boldly 
avowing to saint and sinner, that he was " determined 
to know nothing among them save Jesus Christ, and 
him crucified" The "strifes, envyings, and divisions," 
which he had been, in his executive character, thus 
far, called to settle, had all been disposed of quickly, 
easily, and satisfactorily. The dissensions, which 
had, at times, risen between parties in the churches 
over which he had charge, vanished before his salu- 
tary, heaven-inspired discourses ; the selfish contrac- 
tions of the heart expanding by his benign influence, 
and all, becoming as members of one loving family, 
sitting under the same vine and fig-tree. 

At New Egypt, the class-leaders were George 
Fort, William Creed, and Charles Taylor, all earnest 
co-laborers with Mr. Stewart in building up the 
spiritual church, and keeping its members unspotted 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART, 



159 



from the world. These men were emphatically 
" God's husbandry." 

The first year, a new church was dedicated at 
Wrightstown, by Eev. David W. Bartine. At Zion, 
the oldest church upon the circuit, in whose time- 
honored pulpit Bishop Asbury had raised his trumpet 
voice, was destroyed by fire. A new building was soon 
erected, in which many souls were converted in the 
following year. A camp-meeting was held at Cooks- 
town in August of 1837, and Revs. Richard Pether- 
bridge, James Moore, John Lenheart, and Robert 
Morrison, with Mr. Stewart, delivered sermons which 
resulted in the conviction and conversion of scores 
of souls. The youngest daughter of the last, a little 
girl, nine years of age, was clearly converted, and 
expressed the joy of her youthful heart in songs of 
praise to Him who had loved her and given himself 
for her. While rejoicing in the happiness which 
came to her spirit, and telling of the sweetness of 
the consciousness of pardoned sin, Brother Pether- 
bridge came along, and listening for a moment to 
the ecstatic words which fell from her lips, exclaim- 
ed, "Let men cavil at early piety — there's a divine 
reality in that conversion." 

At Imlaystown, Mr. Stewart was accustomed to 
put up with Mr. George R., a gentleman whose family 
were all religious, but who himself, up to this time, 
had refused to be saved on the terms of the gospel. 
His wife, and a devotedly pious young lady whom 
Mr. Stewart has referred to in one of his letters to 
James Folwell, Miss Mary Ann Potts, now the wife 



160 



LIFE OF 



of a minister in the New Jersey Conference, induced 
him to attend camp- meeting ; earnestly supplicating 
a throne of the heavenly grace, with strong cries, 
tears, and faith, in his behalf. The ladies, sick 
from the long ride through the scorching rays of 
a summer's sun, retired immediately upon their 
arrival on the ground. Mr. R. went into a tent, 
where he encountered Mr. Stewart, who, after the 
usual salutation, said, "Before separating for this 
evening, let us pray." The two knelt down, others 
gathered around, and when the invocation was ended, 
a good sister struck up a lively air, which had the 
effect of attracting a still larger "crowd of witnesses." 
This concluded, a brother was called upon to pray, 
who fairly besieged the throne in behalf of the un- 
converted upon the camp ground. Mr. Stewart re- 
peated the story of a blessed Saviour's love in the 
ear of Mr. R., and that gentleman, resolving no longer 
to be " disobedient to the heavenly calling," fell upon 
his knees, and besought God for Christ's sake to re- 
mit his transgressions. Had Jehovah turned a deaf 
ear to Mr. R.'s entreaties, our Heavenly Father had 
been open to a charge which none have ever been 
able to bring against his infinite mercy and love. 
On the contrary, that very first evening, when the 
sinful man called upon God out of a sincere heart, 
fervently; and in the right exercise of faith, took 
close hold upon, and clung with a drowning tena- 
city to the many inspired promises, he received the 
pledge of love, and exclaimed with the prophet, 
" Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth ini- 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



161 



quit j, and passeth by the transgressions of the rem- 
nant of his heritage ? He retaineth not his anger 
forever, because he delighteth in mercy T Thus was 
Mr. E., by yielding up all, in the outset, prepared 
to enjoy a feast of love, with the saints at God's ban- 
queting house, during the camp-meeting, and fitted 
to return to his temporal avocations, an example of 
piety to those among whom he might be called to 
mingle. The influence of the meeting was felt over 
many parts of the circuit, long after its sheets were 
razed, and when the snow-clouds gathered over a 
wintry sky, its effects were visible in the various 
churches in which Mr. Stewart and Charles Downs 
(who came to assist him in January) held protracted 
meetings. 

Mr. Stewart not only strove continually to induce 
sinners to turn from the error of their ways, but 
unceasingly pressed upon professors the necessity of 
Christian holiness. And he preached this doctrine 
in that way which manifested that he was habitually 
grounded and settled in the experience thereof 
himself. 

" Holiness is but another name for pure love ! 
It constitutes a bond of union, reaching all, encircling 
all, beautifying all. Those in the same rank of 
being are attracted to each other, and all are attracted 
to that which is higher in rank. Not only loving 
but united in love. God in all and all in God; the 
Father in Christ, and Christ in those who are be- 
gotten of him, mutually bound together and living 
in each other." 

14* 



162 



LIFE OF 



Hasten, Lord, the perfect day ; 
Let thy every servant say, 
I have now-obtained the power, 
Born of God, to sin no more. 

Mr. Stewart was returned to New Egypt in 1838, 
with a young and . talented preacher, whose first 
year this was in the Conference. Alas for talent 
without grace/ He was constantly, by his impru- 
dence, subjected to the censures of circumspect 
Christians, and before the termination of his first 
twelve months, his name was one for which few had 
esteem or even respect. The heart of him under 
whose guidance he had been placed was continually 
torn by reports of his colleague's misdemeanor. 
He was rebuked with paternal tenderness and affec- 
tion, exhorted to consider the high calling unto 
which God had honored him, and besought by this 
demonstration of God's peculiar love, "to walk 
worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful 
in every good work and increasing in the knowledge 
of God." He was borne with by the people, at Mr. 
Stewart's earnest request, till his appointed time at 
New Egypt expired ; but the ensuing year was his 
last in the ministry* The troubles incident to this 
year, together with the extraordinary labor to which 
Mr. Stewart aspired, induced an illness which con- 
fined him to his room for several weeks. Thus by 

* This young man eventually fell away altogether, and re- 
turned to the pleasures and vices of the world, in which he still 
lives. May the Grod of all mercy and power yet restore and save 
him with an everlasting salvation ! 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



163 



overtaxing his physical powers did he experience 
an interruption of the enterprises of benevolence 
and piety upon which his heart was set, and for 
which he was specially qualified. It was intensely 
afflicting to his ardent and holy mind, to be diverted 
from his proper and loved business of preaching the 
gospel of Christ's glory, and pleading with men to 
be reconciled to God, to the reprehending of him 
who should have aided in bearing the burdens of the 
heavy charge, and reflected honor by an upright walk 
and chaste conversation upon the sacred cause of 
Christianity. His heart was strengthened, however, 
by revivals in several appointments, and by witness- 
ing the conversion of many of the children of pious 
parents. Four sons of David Applegate, and three 
sons of Eichard Eobbins, both of whom were stand- 
ard Methodists on the circuit, were among the num- 
ber. " Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for 
his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God." 

The following letter to a beloved brother bears 
date of February 14th : — ■ 

Dear Brother: I received your favor dated 
January 27th, and was glad to hear from you all. 
I do not profess to be a great letter writer, but I 
delight in a friendly correspondence. The letter 
which you refer to was not received ; I began to 
think that the wife would now engross your undi- 
vided attention, but I rejoice to find it otherwise. 
I am sorry to hear you say a fear arose in your 
mind that the friendships of this circuit had sup- 



164 



LIFE OF 



planted all others. I do not forget my friends. It 
would be gratifying for me to visit and preach to 
you, but I cannot now. Several weeks since I 
commenced to raise blood, and the physician tells 
me I can never be well, though he thinks I may be 
patched up to last awhile yet. I am quite unwell 
at the present. I have brought this upon myself 
by speaking too much. Sometimes I preach eight 
times in the week, and attend several funerals. Our 
churches are all too small ; there are frequently two 
or three hundred who cannot be accommodated 
within the walls, and they stand at the doors and 
windows listening eagerly. I have recently been 
solicited to settle among a kind people, but I cannot 
be bought with money, though I am not worth 
much. I tried to preach last Wednesday evening 
from " Whosoever among you feareth God, to you 
is the word of this salvation sent." (Acts xiii. 26.) 
Our altar was crowded from one end to the other ; 
several were let into liberty! Some were men of 
high standing in the community, and they promise 
usefulness in the cause of religion. Oh, how I wish 
for a strong body and lungs ! As the year draws 
to a close, I find myself attached to this place, but I 
am trying to wean myself. I have lately received 
the intelligence of the death of a half brother. He 
passed away in the triumphs of faith and enjoying 
the comforts of the gospel. I should not be writing 
this morning, but I steal the time because I love 
you. I think I am slowly recovering now, and 
believe I shall get well. It is a great cross for me to 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



165 



desist from speaking. But if I allow myself to talk, 
my glorious theme will animate my mind, and then 
my voice is elevated too high. I am very happy ! 
All things shall work together for good to them 
that love God. "Salvation" has never sounded more 
charming than since I have been afflicted, nor never 
have my enjoyments been sweeter. I have had time to 
retrospect my past life ; how grateful I feel that I 
chose God for my portion. But I have to mourn 
over many missteps! My family have been and 
still are afflicted ; three of my children have been 
sick, two are now convalescent. I may possibly 
visit you again soon. I do not know that I shall 
be able to preach, but I flatter myself that I have 
some friends among you who would welcome me if 
I was not. Oh ! I hope to stand with them upon 
the golden pavements of the New Jerusalem, and 
ring the song of redemption over the hills and vales 
of eternity. 

Yours, affectionately, 

THOS. a. STEWART. 

On no circuit had Mr. Stewart's ministry been 
more acceptable than at New Egypt; and, as has 
been shown, he continually labored with all his 
might to bring souls to Christ. The professors of 
religion were quickened all over the circuit. When 
he was absent from home, he visited, as far as pos- 
sible, each member in the charge to which he had 
come, conversing and praying with the sick, and 
essaying to bind up the wounded hearts of suffering 



166 



LIFE OF 



or bereaved ones. In his diary of the 14th of August, 
he writes : — 

" I was providentially thrown in company, to-day, 
with a young married lady, who has just buried her 
babe. With bitter grief, she unfolded her sorrows 
to me. I inquired if she had experienced a change 
of heart, and she sadly replied, 'No, sir.' I tried 
to point her to Him who once said, ( Suffer little 
children to come unto me,' &c, and assured her it 
was her blessed privilege to follow the precious child, 
if cleansed, and made pure as that child, by the effi- 
cacious blood of Jesus. I told her that I considered 
this providence of God not inscrutable, but a loud 
and palpable call for her to prepare to meet God. I 
left her in deep meditation." 

In these ways, his labors were rendered eminently 
useful, because, in the exercise of sympathy, he won 
the affections of the people, and then they were pre- 
pared to receive, and be directed by, his instructions, 
according to their peculiar circumstances. Never 
was minister more deeply interested in the happiness 
of his people. In the latter years of his life, it was 
not an uncommon occurrence for Christians under 
trial, or severe temptation, to call upon him, reveal 
their peculiar troubles, and ask him to pray in faith 
for their immediate deliverance from distress. After 
conversation and advice, he was wont to kneel with 
them and call upon God, and the blessing craved was 
almost universally and gloriously vouchsafed. The 
following is one of the hymns which Mr. Stewart 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



167 



admired, and would sometimes sing, on such occa- 
sions of rejoicing. 

Oh ! love divine, how sweet thou art ! 
When shall I find my willing heart 

All taken up by thee ? 
I thirst, I faint, I die, to prove 
The greatness of redeeming love — 
The love of Christ to me. 

Stronger his love than death or hell ; 
Its riches are unsearchable ; 

The first-born sons of light 
Desire in vain its depths to see ; 
They cannot reach the mystery," 
The length, the breadth, the height. 

God only knows the love of God ; 
Oh, that it now were shed abroad 

In this poor stony heart ! 
For love I sigh, for love I pine ; 
This only portion, Lord, be mine : 
Be mine this better part. 

Oh, that I could forever sit 
With Mary, at the Master's feet ! 

Be this my happy choice ; 
My only care, delight, and bliss, 
My joy, my heaven on earth, be this — 
To hear the Bridegroom's voice. 

Oh, that I could, with favored John, 
Recline my weary head upon 

The dear Redeemer's breast ? 
From care, and sin, and sorrow free, 
Give me, Lord, to find in thee 
My everlasting rest. 



168 



LIFE OF 



CHAPTER IX. 

MR. STEWART ON CUMBERLAND CIRCUIT. 

Appointment of 1839 — Dr. Fisler — A pleasant colleague — Port 
Elizabeth — Change of text in the pulpit — Peculiarities of Mr. 
Stewart — His manner of preaching — Stanzas — His soul is en- 
couraged by cheering prospects — Parsonage repaired — Undi- 
vided spiritual interest — Millville — Character of its Christians 
— A sermon — Happy effect — Camp-meeting — Sudden death — 
Extract — Revivals — School-houses — Black Water — Anecdote 
— Conference at Burlington, in 1840 — Illness of his son Joseph 
— Returns to Port Elizabeth — Full churches the second year — 
Love feast at Millville — Mr. Stewart attends a camp-meeting 
at Daretown, on Salem Circuit — Result— Marriage of his eldest 
daughter. 

At the Conference of 1839, which was held in 
Trenton, April 24th, Mr. Stewart was appointed to 
Cumberland Circuit. This was particularly gratify- 
ing to both the minister and his wife ; to the latter, 
on account of its being contiguous to her relatives, 
with whom she had been privileged to mingle but 
little since her departure for Ohio ; to the former, 
because he would be thrown upon familiar ground, 
and among the friends with whom he had consorted 
in early life, and for whose eternal welfare he expe- 
rienced an especial solicitude. He returned from 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



169 



Trenton on the 27th, preached a "farewell discourse 1 ' 
at New Egypt, to an overflowing house, on the 28th, 
and bade adieu to the circuit on Monday, the 29th. 
Their furniture was sent via Philadelphia, by water, 
from Bordentown, and Mr. Stewart, wife, three 
daughters, and a son, proceeded by carriage to Port 
Elizabeth, in which village was the parsonage de- 
signed for them to occupy, and owned by the Method- 
ists of the circuit. Until the arrival of their goods, 
the entire family were most cordially entertained by 
Dr. Benjamin Fisler, a local preacher, now far 
advanced in years. His colleague was Rev. John 
F. Crouch. Never existed greater union of holy 
sentiment, harmony of pious spirit, oneness of pur- 
pose, between two preachers. Brother Crouch re- 
sided in Cedar ville, which was at the extreme end 
of the circuit ; yet was there constant and uninter- 
rupted intercourse sustained between these men of 
God, during the entire two years of their connection. 
Thus closely united, possessed of that indomitable 
faith, energy, and perseverance which are at once the 
ingredients for, and the promoters of, signal religious 
success, they set forth, invoking the assistance of 
God in their labor of love. A singularly coinciding 
humility, amiability, and conscious weight of respon- 
sibility, was also visible in their characters. More- 
over, they exhibited an exemplary degree of " kindly 
affection the one for the other," invariably " prefer- 
ring one another in honor," and always rejoicing in 
St. Paul's affirmation, " He that planteth and he that 
watereth are one." 



170 



LIFE OF 



The appointments on this circuit were Port Eli- 
zabeth, Millville, Cumberland-Furnace, Cedarville, 
Malaga, Black-Water, Fork-Bridge, Grove, Maurice- 
town, Dividing Creek, and Swings. When Mr. 
Stewart drove over the mead skirting the town of 
his future residence, and glanced at the dimensions 
of the fine structure designated as the Methodist 
church, he was led to exclaim : " Surely much peo- 
ple of this heritage serve God day and night in His 
temple; and He that sitteth on the throne dwells 
among them." He was exceedingly grieved in spirit 
upon the occasion of his first preaching in Port 
Elizabeth, to behold in the • large and beautiful 
church but a few worshippers, and that over a ma- 
jority of these had fallen a cloud of spiritual dul- 
ness. After entering its sacred precincts, he was 
constrained to alter the language which had sug- 
gested itself to his mind, from, "I was glad when 
they said unto me, let us go into the house of the 
Lord," to " My soul thirsteth for Thee in a dry land 
where no water is ; to see thy power and glory so as 
I have seen Thee in the sanctuary." Though de- 
prived of the knowledge of many philosophical 
books, Mr. Stewart had been a diligent student of 
" the more sure word of prophecy" since the date 
of his conversion; and although he never entered 
the pulpit with a superficial preparation for its exer- 
cises, he sometimes, when the circumstances of the 
occasion called for it, consented to preach with sum- 
mary notice, or changed the subject chosen for ex- 
position, after entering the sanctuary, to a familiar 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



171 



discourse, which was deemed more appropriate. 
Although he preached very frequently, every dis- 
course was the result of labor, and he did not then 
dare to ascend the sacred steps until assured by faith 
in his secret requests of God, that the Comforter 
would vouchsafe his presence and aid. This consti- 
tuted him an able workman who needed not to be 
ashamed. He had no model placed before him, but 
asked God to touch his lips with the finger of his 
power, and to enable him to " speak forth the words 
of truth and soberness," not as a man pleaser, but 
" in demonstration of the spirit and of power." His 
sentences were usually short, terse, and impulsive ; 
calculated to instruct scripturally ; and when he 
became warmed by the beauty, sweetness, and im- 
portance of his theme, his voice was always elevated 
to a high pitch, which he maintained without sudden 
fluctuation, to the conclusion of his sermon. What- 
ever he lost by early disadvantages, he certainly by 
subsequent intercourse with various classes of men, 
became well acquainted with the workings of the 
natural heart, the devices and subtility of Satan in 
reference to saint and sinner ; so that, from his soul, 
burdened with the sacred message from God, was 
elicited abrupt, but powerful sentences which awak- 
ened a spirit of examination in the lukewarm pro- 
fessor and stirred up " a fear which hath torment" in 
him who rejected the mild, but peremptory rule of 
Christ altogether. He had a good imagination and 
a tolerable art of description, especially when dwell- 
ing upon the glory of heaven. In the language of 



172 



LIFE OF 



an unconverted individual who often heard him 
preach on this circuit, "No man could make heaven 
appear more sublime and desirable, none render hell 
more fearful and gloomy." But Mr. Stewart's forte 
lay in his feeling. This, in a preacher, is more im- 
portant than either fancy or art of description. He 
who delights the mind by fine allegories, may tingle 
the ear, but he who possesses a warm glowing heart, 
will touch the feelings of his hearers, be he not half 
so eloquent in the ordinary acceptation of the word. 
By one, eloquence has been denned "the power of 
imparting one's feelings to others." In this sense he 
abounded in eloquence ; for he had a divine fervor 
breathing into his thoughts and inspiring his speech. 
Sometimes, like Christmas Evans, the great Welsh 
evangelist, "he became quite overwhelmed with the 
magnitude and grandeur of his theme, and then he 
spoke with such impassioned earnestness as to storm 
the hearts of his congregation." He was become at 
the time of his first entering the pulpits of Cumber- 
land Circuit, in the fullest sense of the term, " an 
experimental preacher." 

" That a preacher feel his subject, constitutes one 
of his excellencies ; but that his sermon be deeply 
imbued with the spiritual experience of the preacher, 
is the crowning point of his excellency. It is true, 
a person may speak well of the distress of other 
people; but he will speak more powerfully of his 
own distress. Persons may expatiate on the pleasant 
fragrance of flowers of foreign lands, but those who 
have themselves participated in the odors, in the soft 



KEY. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



173 



breezes of those countries, can describe them in an 
infinitely superior manner. Many may speak fluently 
of the mercies of God, in providence and grace, in 
protecting, preserving and pardoning sinners, but 
those who have experienced a sense of the divine 
mercy in their own souls can speak much better of 
it." Mr. Stewart spoke what he felt, and because he felt. 
Having heard Christ's voice, felt the power of his 
blood, tasted his love, and seen wonderful exhibitions 
of his pardoning mercy, he was ready to stand up 
and sing : — 

What we have felt and seen, 

With confidence we tell ; 
And publish to the sons of men, 

The signs infallible. 
We who in Christ believe 

That he for us hath died ; 
We all his unknown peace receive, 

And feel his blood applied. 

Exults our rising soul, 

Disburdened of her load, 
And swells, unalterably full 

Of glory and of God. 
Stronger than death or hell, 

The sacred power we prove ; 
And conquerors of the world, we dwell 

In heaven, who dwell in love. 

Mr. Stewart was encouraged to find an intelligent 
and interesting membership in Port Elizabeth, whose 
sympathies were early stirred, and whose zeal was 
soon kindled; the congregations were at once in- 
creased, and he, at the expiration of three months, 
was able to employ the words which his lips refused 

15* 



174 



LIFE OF 



to utter at first, and he heard, from many sincere 
hearts, the language of the Psalmist: "My soul 
longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts of the 
Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the 
living God." 

The class-leaders, William Heisler, Job Channels, 
and Jacob Coombs, were sterling men : faithful, ex- 
emplary, " instant in season and out of season ; 
exhorting with all long suffering and doctrine." 

The parsonage house, although surrounded by an 
extensive garden and grounds, was inconvenient, and 
too small for a large family. From long neglect or 
inattention, it also clamored loudly for repairs and 
painting. Mr. Stewart, who had always betrayed a 
commendable interest in improving and beautifying 
the spots of his residence, especially when the pro- 
perty of the church, proposed to the brethren upon 
the circuit to erect an addition, and otherwise im- 
prove the structure. The proposition was sanctioned; 
six feet were added to the west end, the old building 
was renovated, the grounds planted with shrubbery 
and shade trees, and grape-vines trained to run over 
a tall arbor, and shelter the rear sections of the house 
from the sun. 

While these improvements were progressing at 
the parsonage, Mr. Stewart did not less fully dis- 
charge his pastoral office among a numerous people, 
but rode from one appointment to another, preaching 
almost every night, and laboring. with his accustomed 
zeal for that kingdom from which no interest was 
suffered, for an hour, to divert his attention. 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



175 



Millville was the stronghold of the circuit. It showed 
the largest membership, and the Christians comprising 
it were hearty, whole-souled Methodists, who evi- 
dently tried and labored more for the cause of Christ 
than the selfish object of amassing wealth ! Those 
who were blessed with the treasures of earth, con- 
ferred liberally for the support and diffusion of "the 
gospel of peace;" those who toiled in the glass man- 
ufactories of the town, gave as they had ability, and 
all rejoiced in worshipping God together, and in 
coming up boldly and gladly "to the help of the 
Lord against the mighty." They were a praying, 
praising, shouting, happy people ! The heart of Mr. 
Stewart always felt warmed upon entering the pulpit 
of the old roughcast church edifice in Millville, and 
before leaving it, he and his congregation were gene- 
rally blessed by an abundant and glorious outpour- 
ing of the spirit! They frequently enjoyed what 
was termed "a shout in the camp of Israel," and 
sang lustily the good old hymn : — 

Oh, happy day that fixed my choice 
On Thee, my Saviour and my Grod ! 

Well may this glowing heart rejoice, 
And tell its raptures all abroad. 

The class-leaders, Josiah Shaw, Noah Sheldon, 
Thomas Corson, William Pogue, and Stephen Garri- 
son, were faithful stewards, examples of Christian 
charity, who realized in their experience that " the 
kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in 
the Holy Ghost." Good old Stacy Wilson, William 
Powell, and others, whose hospitality Mr. Stewart 



176 



LIFE OF 



and family enjoyed, will never be forgotten by the 
recipients of their kindness. Some of these holy 
men and women have been called to endure much 
affliction since those joyous seasons; several have 
gone on and met the subject of this biography, 
"beyond the vale of . tears." Those who still live, 
look to the Author of their faith to be its finisher, 
and, seeing that the Captain of their salvation was 
made perfect through suffering, they take courage, 
and with the exclamation, " The servant is not greater 
than his Master," they "press toward the mark for 
the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 

Mr. Stewart, during his first year on Cumberland 
Circuit, preached in Millville, from the text, " What 
is that to thee? follow thou me." (John xxi. 22.) In 
this sermon, he endeavored to explain the meaning 
of our Saviour's words, and exhorted his hearers to 
mind their own duty, and try to prepare for the trials 
which they should be called to encounter, and pry 
not, with vain curiosity, into the secret events which 
might befall others ; to take Christ as their great Ex- 
emplar, and follow him through evil as well as good 
report ; concluding with an idea of the glory which 
should be revealed in and to them, when permitted 
to follow Christ into the celestial mansion which he 
has gone to prepare. His mind seemed to catch fire 
at the thought of the things which eye hath not seen, 
nor ear heard, nor heart conceived, but which were 
already revealed by the Spirit to them that love him ; 
and he thanked God for the privilege of following 
Christ y even though the path was beset with diffi- 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



177 



culties and trials, and the entrance to the Heavenly 
Kingdom was preceded by the dark valley and shadow 
of death. 

The congregation (though the preacher did not 
suppose the first part of his discourse particularly 
appropriate to them) were delighted with the whole 
sermon, and, as the genuine followers of the meek 
and lowly Jesus always do, they resolved to profit 
by the good advice given, and, " striving together for 
the faith of the gospel, to stand fast in one spirit with 
conversation that should become the gospel of Christ." 
In the last part, the speaker himself feeling; the sym- 
pathy of the people was aroused, and borne along in 
his joyous imagination ; sinners buried their faces 
in their hands, and shed penitential tears at the 
memory of the manifold sins which had been com- 
mitted against Him who suffered to redeem them, 
while saints rejoiced that they were in the path of 
duty, and had Christ on their side. A camp-meeting 
in Steven Garrison's woods, six miles from Millville, 
which was held a few weeks after, brought a number 
into the fold of Christ who felt the converting influ- 
ence of the Holy Spirit for the first time under Mr. 
Stewart's powerful preaching in this church. 

The camp-meeting referred to was large, and 
proved beneficial in the conviction and conversion 
of sinners, and in establishing those already profess- 
ing religion, more firmly in the faith. " Father Neal," 
the presiding elder on the district, was present, and 
under his mild, yet peremptory government, re- 
markably good order was maintained, and the work 



178 



LIFE OF 



of the Lord prospered. Mr. Stewart and his col- 
league were indefatigable in their labors to bring 
souls to Christ, and, as has been observed, were emi- 
nently successful. 

A gentleman residing in Millville, who had pitched 
a tent on the ground, and brought his wife and family 
to enjoy the immunities of the meeting, returned to 
his home to perform some temporal business one 
evening, and having attended to the duty which 
called him away from the grove, he retired to bed. 
Not seen preparing to go to his family, as proposed, 
the following morning, the neighbors forced an en- 
trance into his house, and found him lying cold and 
breathless in the bed, to which he had gone, appa- 
rently, in his usual health, less than twelve hours 
before. The melancholy intelligence was carried to 
his wife, who returned, sorrowing, to perform the 
last sad duties towards her husband with whom she 
had parted only yesterday — looking forward to years 
of sweet, connubial happiness. Happy for this man, 
his peace was made with God, and doubtless to him 
death was gain. 

" Life lias no value as an end, but means ; 
An end deplorable ! a means, divine ! 
When 'tis our all, 'tis nothing ; worse than naught ; 
A nest of pains ; when held as nothing, much. 

Life is most enjoyed 
When courted least ; most worth when disesteemed ; 
Then 'tis the seat of comfort, rich in peace ; 
In prospect richer far ; important ! awful ! 
Not to be mentioned but with shouts of praise ! 
Not to be thought on but with tides of joy ! 
The mighty basis of eternal bliss ! 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



179 



Revival seasons were enjoyed this year at Millville, 
Swings, Cedarville, Fork Bridge and Port Elizabeth.. 
•At the latter place about fifty in three weeks were 
the subjects of God's renewing grace. Among the 
number was the daughter of Dr. Fisler, who, up to 
this time, though a sweetly amiable and lovely young 
lady, had suffered the pride of the natural heart to 
deter her from that important step which now she 
resolved to take. Individuals, whose minds are 
stored with theoretical, religious knowledge, who 
know the way of the cross from having witnessed 
holy parents tread in it, and having its directness 
designated — are not usually long, seeking the par- 
doning love of God. Miss Fisler did not signify her 
spiritual desires by kneeling at the altar, in front of 
the pulpit, but prostrating herself before the mercy- 
seat, by the side of Maria Stewart, at the pew upon 
which she had been sitting, she asked and received 
in Jesus' name; scarcely half an hour elapsed be- 
fore "the still small voice" of the blessed Saviour 
was distinctly heard, whispering, "Thy sins, which 
were many, are all forgiven thee ; go in peace and sin 
no more." Upon this circuit were several school- 
house appointments. To the people who assembled 
in these, Mr. Stewart esteemed it an especial privilege 
to preach. In such humble buildings he was always 
favored with what he called " liberty" — freedom of 
speech, and the glorious presence of the Comforter. 
He declared that he did not object to fine churches 
with elaborate ornaments, provided they could be 
speedily paid for ; but if left to choose for himself, 



180 



LIFE OF 



he would prefer a plain temple and a plain people! 
In a school-house, crowded full of sincere worship- 
pers, he was at home. He chose a short text, preached 
a short sermon, gave a short exhortation, but gloried 
in a long prayer-meeting, which to him, and the Chris- 
tians whom he labored with, was, to employ an ex- 
pression of one of them, " short enough if kept up 
all night." At Black Water, he was gratified with 
an immense school-house, and a company of zealous 
brethren, who possessed unsuppressed shouting pro- 
pensities. To this place he loved to go, and his com- 
ing was always hailed by the goodly Methodist com- 
munity as a time when " a good season" would be 
enjoyed in the old school-house. Upon one occasion, 
when he arrived at this place of worship, he found 
benches, desks, and every foot of space crowded with 
people, patiently waiting his appearance. It was 
December. The huge old fashioned stove roared 
with the draught through its blazing pine-knots, and 
the loud winds whistled around the corners of the 
building. He stood behind the sacred (?) desk, preached 
to a thirsty people and held a prayer-meeting, in which 
all received " a powerful blessing" that incited them 
to shout aloud the praises of Immanuel's name. They 
"broke up" at twelve o'clock! Mr. Stewart and his wife, 
who had accompanied him, remained all night with 
a brother, who lived in a large, old brick house which 
had stood the storms and braved the winds of a cen- 
tury. Of recent years, fears had been entertained, 
during the prevalence of high winds, that the ancient 
structure would yield to their mighty power. To 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



181 



counteract their influence, enormous poles had been 
placed as props against one of its sides. Mrs. Stewart 
was alarmed upon entering her lodging apartment to 
find that her head was to oppose these props; but her 
husband, listening to the winds which whistled and 
surged without, knelt before him " who holdeth the 
winds in his fists," and asking protection for the night, 
lay calmly down upon his bed, apprehending not but 
that they should rise refreshed and uninjured. Be- 
fore the dawn of day, the winds had subsided, and 
the severity of the weather abated. With hearts 
full of gratitude for the care which God had exer- 
cised over them in danger, the faithful pair returned 
to their home. 

Never did Mr. Stewart pass a pleasanter year with 
colleague and people, than this first one on Cumber- 
land Circuit. To use his own language: "Not a 
jarring measure grated upon my ears during the en- 
tire twelvemonth." 

Gracious revivals occurred at the appointments 
previously named, and all men, with all things, 
worked together most harmoniously. Messrs. Stew- 
art and Crouch felt that they could adopt the language 
of Charles Wesley, and sing — 

Jesus, united by thy grace, 

And each to each endeared, 
With confidence we seek thy face, 

And know our prayers are heard. 

They went up to Conference, which was held at 
Burlington, in the spring of 184.0, bearing good re- 

16 



182 



LIFE OF 



ports from their territory, and creditable collections 
from each individual charge. 

Mr. Stewart's sons had settled in Burlington, after 
attaining their majority ; the elder was now married 
to an estimable and pious lady, and they were keep- 
ing house. Mrs. Stewart accompanied her husband 
to Conference, in order to visit her sons. They set 
out in their own conveyance, arid proposed spending 
a night to rest in Medford. Upon their arrival at 
that village, they were informed of the illness of 
Joseph, their youngest son ; and, though it was now 
dark, and twelve miles intervened between him and 
them, no persuasion could influence them to tarry 
for a single hour. Hastening on, they found Joseph 
very low of pleurisy ; but, at the expiration of four 
days, rejoiced to see him convalescent. 

Bishop Hedding presided at this session of the 
Conference, and, at its close, returned Mr. Stewart, 
with his colleague, to the same circuit. This was, of 
course, pleasant to both. How must their souls have 
exulted to see Zion in prosperity again the second 
year ; considering their ardent desire for the salva- 
tion of men ! All over the circuit the churches were 
filled to overflowing ; the members were built up in 
their most holy faith, and many, who the year pre- 
vious had rejected the influences of the Holy Spirit, 
were persuaded to turn in with the free offers of 
mercy, and fight against the reign of Christ Jesus no 
more ! A love feast, held at Millville this year, was a 
memorable occasion. Father Neal, loved and vene- 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



183 



rated by all who knew Mm, opened the services, 
which were held before preaching, in the morning, 
by the use of that sweet old hymn — 

And are we yet alive, 
And see each, other's face ? 

After an introductory prayer, Father ISTeal arose, and, 
in his pathetic style, related a fragment of his reli- 
gious experience. Then came Mr. Stewart, with one 
of his favorite passages of Scripture : " For I reckon 
that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy 
to be compared with the glory which shall be re- 
vealed in us." Bro. Crouch followed with his glow- 
ing adoption of the beloved disciple's language: 
" Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet 
appear what we shall be ; but we know that when he 
shall appear, we shall be like Mm; for we shall see him 
as he is." These were joined by Brothers Stacy 
Wilson, Isaac Newcome, Thos. Corson, William 
Pogue, Josiah Shaw, Joseph Linthecum, John 
Doughty, and many others, who were "epistles, 
known and read of all men," in the testimony for the 
reality of the religion of the blessed Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ. 

A young man who had recently found God in the 
pardon of his sins, arose and said: "But a few months 
have elapsed since God, for Christ's sake, blotted out 
my transgressions. I have been one of the vilest of 
the vile. My convictions of sin were long resisted, 
but my efforts to put them aside only resulted in a 



184 



LIFE OF 



deeper sense of my lost condition, unless saved by 
the grace of Christ. Eventually, I knelt with a 
penitent heart at the altar of prayer in this church ; 
but, after this step, I yielded to the suggestions of 
Satan, resolved to cease my mourning, and plunge 
into the vortex of worldly pleasure for solace. A 
brother pointed me to the cross as my only hope, 
and / swore I ivould not pray! My wretchedness 
became intolerable, and had never been less ; but for 
repenting my sinful affirmation, and asking God to 
forgive that, and all my world of criminality, He 
did it, and his merciful hand has led me into flowery 
paths of peace, and by still waters of comfort, and 
my soul is restored to the bliss of salvation." 

Christian men and women were gathered in the 
old church, that happy day, from all parts of the 
circuit, and blended their voices together in hymns 
of praise to Him who died that they might be washed 
in his own most precious blood ; and many, in good, 
old-fashioned Methodist style, shouted aloud the 
triumphant sentences of ecstasy, which rushed un- 
bidden to their lips. These came not to visit their 
friends, but to meet him who is the Friend of sinners, 
and tell to all the gracious dealings of God to their 
hearts. Strangers were entertained by the good 
wives and daughters of the brethren, than which, 
none of any appointment ever exhibited more genu- 
ine Christian hospitality. This quarterly meeting 
will ever be remembered by those who enjoyed it, 
as an occasion of much spiritual profit. 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



185 



In the summer of this year, Mr. Stewart attended 
a camp-meeting at Daretown, on Salem Circuit, and 
preached from the text, "What is a man profited if 
he gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?" 
God spake through his servant, and the word was 
accompanied by power. Men who had remained 
through many years of sin, unmoved by the sounds 
of warning from gospel trumps, were wonderfully 
wrought upon, and impelled to change immediately 
their dangerous habits. A young man, who, till 
this hour, had never given the eternal interests of 
his soul a serious consideration, was heard to remark : 
11 That man ought to be paid for preaching this 
morning. I never knew of what material the soul 
was composed before." He sought religion a few 
months subsequent, and Mr. Stewart had the plea- 
sure of receiving his name as a probationer, during 
the next year, on that circuit. 

The people of Salem Circuit, observing Mr. Stew- 
art's earnestness and zeal at the camp-meeting, re- 
solved to ask for him at the next Conference; feeling 
confident that such effort must result in the general 
reviving of the membership, and salutary influences 
upon the unconverted. The episcopal power, always 
ready to favor the wishes of the laity as far as pos- 
sible, granted the request, and at Newark, in April 
of 1841, Mr. Stewart was appointed for Salem Circuit. 
He bade adieu to the people who had become en- 
deared to him on Cumberland Circuit, with his usual 
feelings of regret, and his customary language of con- 
16* 



186 



LIFE OF 



fident expectation of a reunion in the realms of eter- 
nal bliss, beyond the swellings of Jordan. His daugh- 
ter Maria was married to a prominent member of the 
church at Port Elizabeth, during the last year of his 
residence there, and this rendered the removal from 
that town a source of unusual sorrow to him and his 
devoted family. 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



187 



CHAPTEE X. 

MR. STEWART ON SALEM CIRCUIT. 

Removes to Allowaystown — Appointments — Preparation for a 
campaign — Camp-meeting — A new church — Revival at Haine's 
Neck — Extraordinary time at Penn's Neck — An exhortation — 
Its effect — Mr. Stewart at Salem — Anecdote — Illness of his 
son — Abram Owen — Penn's Neck camp-meeting — Individual 
conversions — Another new church — Revival in Pittsgrove — 
Wonderful success in bringing souls to Christ — " A seeker's 
department" in the. church — Manner of Mr. Stewart in the 
meetings — Judah's Lion — Death of his son — Letter. 

Although Salem Circuit had been favored with 
two zealous laborers during 1839 and '40, Mr. Stew- 
art found it in what he termed "a low state." His 
entrance upon this field was attended with considera- 
ble conflict of mind ; he felt for several weeks after 
his removal to Allowaystown, that more constant 
prayer, watchfulness, and fasting, must be employed 
on his part ; and he directly instituted them. His 
colleague, the first year, was George A. Eaybold. 
The appointments were, Allowaystown, Pittsgrove, 
Penn's Neck, Hancock's Bridge, Nazareth and Haine's 
Neck. At each of these, upon his first visit, he re- 
quested the Christians to unite with him in earnest 
prayer that the Lord of Hosts might reveal himself 



188 



LIFE OF 



in great power, and that right speedily, to the result 
that their mutual labors might be crowned with 
abundant success. He was now well known in the 
Methodist connection as an active leader in revivals; 
and various reports and conflicting opinions were 
afloat respecting him, in consequence of which, great 
numbers flocked to hear the new preacher, and judge 
for themselves. He preached first at Allowaystown, 
and felt "although the membership were united, 
kindly, and spiritual, that they lacked that energy 
and vitality which he could have desired to find in 
his new quarters." But his faith was strong in Zion's 
God ; he had learned by past experience that where 
were willing hands and affectionate hearts, the work 
of the Lord must prosper, providing the preachers 
discharge their duty faithfully. He passed the first 
three months in reconnoitring the battle ground 
and in preparing for the summer engagement at a 
camp-meeting, which he resolved should he held 
upon the circuit, by way of preface to the winter 
campaign. This was held in the woods of David 
Garton, five miles from Alio way stowu, and resulted 
in the conversion of quite a large number, and a 
general revivifying of the membership in that part 
of the circuit. A church was built soon after, near 
the site of this meeting ; and, not being in any vil- 
lage, but only in a neighborhood thickly settled by 
farmers, it was called "Nazareth." It was dedicated 
by Kev. Charles Ford, presiding elder of the district, 
and upon that day the names of fifty members were 
enrolled upon its records. 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



189 



The first protracted meeting upon this circuit was 
at Haine's Neck; there symptoms of revival influence 
had been observed early in the fall. In three weeks an 
ingathering of fifty-five souls was effected. Mr. Stew- 
art had labored hard at the camp-meeting, and almost 
incessantly since. Some of the appointments seemed 
immovably settled into a formality which the faith 
and prayers of the holy ministers upon the circuit 
did not, for a season, appear in the slightest degree 
to affect. The work at Haine's Neck, however, en- 
couraged their fainting hearts, and they were con- 
strained to adopt the language of the Psalmist, ''Be 
of good courage, and he shall strengthen your hearts, 
all ye that hope in the Lord/' The contiguous 
appointment, Penn's Keck, was the subsequent re- 
sort. For a few days nothing but discouragements 
were encountered ; the interest seemed rather to 
flag than increase. Mr. Stewart preached night after 
night, and exhorted with a fervor and earnestness 
which will never be forgotten by them who heard 
him. At length one soul was touched, yielded, and 
in the language of Mr. Stewart, "broke the ice!" 
another and another followed, till ten penitents pre- 
sented themselves at the altar. The news went forth, 
" a revival at the old frame church, so long flat, 
fruitless, and sterile." The congregations gradually 
enlarged ; men and women who had never seen the 
interior of the church were attracted by curiosity, 
fell beneath the power of conviction, and eventually 
owned Christ conqueror of their hearts. The country 
for several miles around was visited by Mr. Stewart ; 



190 



LIFE OF 



the rich and the poor were invited to " come and see 
the Spirit of God revealed in mighty power." Many 
did so, and first condemning, then wondering, then 
feeling, they were at length persuaded to bow to the 
mild sceptre of the Lord. And scores by this means 
were introduced into the church, and eventually 
found Christ, to the joy and peace of their hearts ! 
Before the meetings were suspended, preaching was 
no longer required; a short exhortation was given, and 
sometimes before this was concluded, souls would cry 
for mercy, and crowd the altar to the number of thirty. 
This was what Mr. Stewart delighted to see. If pre- 
vented from witnessing souls anxious for salvation, 
he was comparatively unhappy : " Glory to God, the 
author of salvation," exclaimed he, in an exhortation 
upon one of these occasions ; " I must see the Holy 
Spirit at work among my people, or I cannot be 
happy. Happy ! while hundreds of my fellow crea- 
tures whom I see every day, and love, and yearn for 
in the bowels of Jesus Christ, are dying in sin? Oh, 
give me such a sight as my eyes have gazed upon 
to-night, when scores of souls plead for pardon 
through my Saviour's efficacious blood; give me this, 
or let me go away from this sin-cursed, guilty, fallen 
world ! Millions of men and women upon this roll- 
ing ball, who must repent or be banished from God 
and the glory of his power ; and I sit with my hands 
folded and not lift my voice to cry, 'Prepare to 
meet thy God' ? Could I be contented thus, I would 
not be so presumptuous as to ask God for mercy ! 
My mission is to the dying people of earth, and 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



191 



whefi my voice is Heard no more in this capacity, let 
all who hear of it, say, Stewart is dead, for he could 
not live and not cry, ' Behold the Lamb 1' Will 
more of this congregation come to Jesus ? Do you 
see him hanging on yonder accursed tree ? That eye 
is closed for you, young man ! Do you observe him 
pierced by a soldier's spear? That precious blood 
gushes out for you, young lady ! Do you see him 
looking commiseratingly upon that thief suspended 
next him? Thus he looks upon you. sinner; and 
you may be as near death as he. Do you hear that 
agonized cry that goes up single, echoless, 'My God, 
why hast thou forsaken me V Answer it, unsaved 
one, by saying, ' He was forsaken for me. 5 Xow he 
sits at the throne of his Father to avert the wrath of 
God. How just will be the anathema, 'Depart into 
everlasting habitations prepared for the Devil and 
his angels,' if all this is slighted ! why will ye die, 
sinner? Christians enjoy life ; Christains are happy 
in death ! I thank my blessed Master, he waters my 
heart ! I am in Christ, and trying to discharge my 
duty, consequently am perfectly happy! I know he 
owns me as his, and I rejoice ! All who feel thus are 
able to rejoice ! Sinner, would you rejoice ? though 
your natural disposition is such as has deprived 
you of loving friends, Christ's spirit can make you 
gentle as a lamb; if all your life long, your heart has 
been deprived of permanent peace, Jesus' spirit will 
make you pleasant as a May-day. If now, from any 
disappointment, temporal embarrassment or pungent 
conviction of sin, a hell reign within vou, the blood 



192 



LIFE OF 



of the Saviour can wash you clean and confer a 
heaven to go to heaven in, this very night. Will 
you have it, poor victim of Satan's wiles ? Come to 
Jesus ; come to the friend of sinners ; come to the 
Guide of the erring ; come to the power of God ; 
come to a life of perennial bliss ; come to a death 
of triumph ; come to a part in the first resurrection ; 
come to a home with angels; come to a seat with 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ; come to an eternity of 
glory in the presence of Him who made the earth 
and you, and has redeemed you in Christ's precious 
atoning blood. Come to all this, or go to your homes 
the same wretched sinners you were when you left 
them ; go to a dismal life of transgression ; to a rebel's 
grave ; to an awful eternity ; to an angry God ; to a 
just Judge; to an endless perdition; to a companion- 
ship with devils; to unending remorse with the 
withering, crushing, condemning sentence, 'You 
knew your Master's will, and you did it not,' for- 
ever ringing dismally in your weary ears !" 

The effect which such an impulsive plea as this 
had upon Mr. Stewart's audience can never be gra- 
phically described. Mounted upon a chair or bench 
of some kind, his gray hair falling around his 
wrinkled forehead, big tears rolling over his fur- 
rowed cheek, his eyes beaming love and paternal 
solicitude, the tones of his voice full of feeling and 
spiritual desire, his appeals were almost irresistible 
— to scores and hundreds altogether irresistible. 
Thousands have blessed the glad hour when he was 
appointed to the circuit upon which they lived ; 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



193 



because, during his sojourn among them, he, by such 
earnestness, induced them to "flee the wrath to 
come," and seek, in the pardoning smiles of the 
blessed Saviour, that rest which remains for the peo- 
ple of God. Farmers, their wives and children, 
came into the church militant at Penn's Neck, and 
thenceforward walked, an unbroken family, in the 
straight and narrow way that leads to the church 
triumphant. Among these were Tobias Casperson, 
Thomas Bradway, and Charles New. From this 
place, Mr. Stewart went to Salem, to assist Eev. G. 
F. Brown, in a protracted meeting in that town. 
While laboring there a young man heard him preach, 
who called upon one of the members of the church, 
the following day, and declared that he was not worthy 
the name of a clergyman, as his sermons were only 
" a composition of poetry, clamor, and exhortation, 
miscellaneously confused." "Where do you usually 
attend church ?" inquired Brother Fennimore. "At 
a place where no such preaching as that is heard." 
" How long have you been a member of the church 
which you refer to?" " Oh, I am not a member of 
any , but I have been attending our church fifteen years" 
"Well, then," said Brother Fennimore, "it is high 
time you had heard something more stirring than 
you have yet been annoyed with ; and, doubtless, if 
you visit the Methodist church, and hear Brother 
Stewart a few more times, the conviction which I 
perceive has now taken hold of you will result in 
your conversion to God, and will change your lan- 
guage concerning one who has done more for you in 
17 



194 



LIFE OF 



one sermon than all the " systematic preaching" you 
speak of, and to which you have listened for many 
years." 

In November, of this year, Mr. Stewart's son 
Joseph came home sick. He had never perfectly 
recovered from his attack of pleurisy, the year pre- 
vious, and contracting a second cold, he was rendered 
unequal to business, and came to his parents, in 
Allowaystown, hoping speedily to repair his physical 
losses. The anxious attention of the family was at 
once enlisted, and recourse was had to a physician, 
who frankly informed them that Joseph was in the 
incipient stage of consumption. His cough increased 
in severity during the winter, but as he retained a 
good degree of strength, their hopes were strong 
that his health would be permanently restored with 
the return of warm weather. 

The Conference of 1842 returned Mr. Stewart to 
Salem Circuit, with Abram Owen as colleague. 
The prospects were bright for revivals at the com- 
mencement of the year, and the ministers went to work 
in strong faith and good earnest, for the advance- 
ment of the cause in which they were enlisted. A 
preparatory camp-meeting was held in Penn's Neck, 
in August, which was favored of God by a glorious 
visitation of converting power. The subjects of re- 
newing grace were mostly young men and women, 
who were children of pious parents. There were a 
number, however, who were not of this class. A 
young lady, who had accompanied her parents, nei- 
ther of whom were professing Christians, was deeply 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



195 



convicted of sin under the preaching of the gospel, 
and repairing to a prayer-meeting in one of the tents, 
she seated herself upon a chair, and, burying her 
face in her hands, wept tears of sorrow and repent- 
ance. "While in this place she was observed by her 
father, who, entering the tent, requested her instantly 
to leave it with him. She complied, and they both 
stood looking in at the entrance for a few minutes. 
"While standing thus, a brother was called upon to 

pray, who, kneeling near Mr. L , the unconverted 

man referred to, looked directly into his face, and 
supplicated Grod's mercy upon sinners, with all the 

ardor and fervor of his earnest spirit. Mr. L 

and his family returned to their homes, but were at 
the camp-ground the following day, and every day, 
including the last morning. The sermons to which 
this gentleman had listened attentively during the 
week, were of the most pointed and heart-searching 
character. He had seen and watched closely the 
workings of the Holy Spirit in others, and felt it 
striving with his own heart. But he was a great po- 
litician, and a prominent man among his party, and 
could not think of embracing religion, or humbling 
himself to become a meek and lowly follower of that 
Saviour and Exemplar who condescended to be born 
in a manger. Mr. Stewart arose, the last morning 
of the meeting, and delivered a valedictory exhorta- 
tion — an exhortation full of pathos and holy solici- 
tude. So earnest did he become, that he sprang upon 
the front of the stand, and, kneeling upon the Bible 
board, he besought sinners at this late hour, with 



196 



LIFE OF 



tears streaming from his eyes, to be reconciled to 
God, or signify their desire to be so. Several arose 
to their feet, in response to this request. Among 

them was the politician, Mr. L >. Mr. Stewart 

then insisted upon an instantaneous surrender of 
every ransomed power of these candidates to the 
Saviour, who bought their salvation; which must 
be evidenced by their bowing humbly at the altar 

before him. They came, and Mr. L with 

them. The important step was taken, and his family 
saw it. Upon returning to his residence, he ordered 
a barrel of whiskey which was in the cellar brought 
up, and emptied into the street; then marshaling his 
workmen, he informed them that each should receive 
an advance of wages, but a prohibition of liquor! He 
continued to seek God during the following week, 
and eventually found peace in the realization of par- 
doned sin. His wife and children followed his salu- 
tary example, and all connected themselves with the 
church at Penn's Neck. Another gentleman, Mr. 
William D , who had been an intimate compa- 
nion of the former in the political arena, was among 
the convicted and converted at this camp-meeting. 
He was thoroughly changed ; testified to feeling the 
life and power of godliness diffused through his 
heart, cleansing it from sinful desires, and renewing 
it in the spirit of Christ. So grateful to Mr. Stew- 
art did he feel for the personal interest manifested, 
that he sought him before departing from the ground, 
and said: " God bless you for your solicitude in my 
behalf. Through your instrumentality, I have been 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



197 



brought from nature's darkness to God's marvellous 
light; I consider myself your insolvent debtor, and 
while / have a dollar, you shall not want. I have 
labored hard in my life, and amassed a considerable 
capital in this world's commodities. If ever neces- 
sary, you shall share it with me. To God be all the 
glory for the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost." 

Mr. D also gave his hand in fellowship with 

the church, and when, the ensuing year, the congrega- 
tions became too large for the old church edifice at 
Penn's Neck, both these brethren, with commendable 
liberality, made a generous offering to God, declaring 
their willingness " to cover the amount," if requisite, 
for the liquidation of the debt proposed to be con- 
tracted by the erection of a large and beautiful place 
of worship. Before Mr. Stewart's departure from 
the circuit, his eyes were gratified by witnessing the 
laying of the corner stone of this new structure, and 
subsequently his heart was exhilarated by being per- 
mitted to stand in its pulpit, and declare " the coun- 
sel of God" to a large and attentive audience, from 
which he received the sincere congratulations of nu- 
merous friends, who, ever after, with reverent affec- 
tion, saluted him as " Father Stewart." 

We are now approaching one of the greatest revi- 
vals which he was ever instrumental in bringing 
about. It was in an old brick church, called " Friend- 
ship," in the township of Pittsgrove, a district thickly 
settled by thriving and wealthy farmers, many of 
whom had lived through their young and vigorous 
years without attending upon any religious denomi- 
17* 



198 



LIFE OF 



nation whatever, and with scarcely a thought of the 
everlasting interest of their souls. No revival had 
occurred in the vicinity during fourteen years, and 
the congregation had dwindled to a handful, who 
were chiefly of the membership. These were instant 
in season, ever ready to perform acts of benevolence, 
and unusually considerate of the necessities of the 
preachers. " Despite the flat condition of things in 
this appointment," says Mr. Stewart, " we set a day 
to begin our protracted meeting." He and his ener- 
getic colleague endeavored to exercise strong faith, 
and "hope against hope," for Friendship. They 
plodded through the neighborhood, personally ap- 
pealed to the unconverted, requested them to attend 
the services, and, by dint of perseverance, succeeded 
in tolerably well filling the lower floor of the church. 
Mr. Stewart often declared that he could exercise 
more faith for men who had not rejected repeated 
offers of salvation than for those who had been 
blessed with religious culture, only to despise its 
influence. He preached from — "Go thy way for 
this time ; when I have a more convenient season 
I will call for thee." He dwelt upon the thousand 
foolish excuses of sinners to justify themselves in a 
continuance of rebellion against the holy will of God, 
and exhorted them, with that singular vehemence 
which characterized his manner, to listen to the voice 
of God, calling through his servants. Then he 
pleaded with them to come to Jesus, in view of the 
countless mercies of God, and then, in his mellow 
voice, sang a favorite hymn, which he had learned 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



199 



away in the forests of Ohio. Many will recollect to 
have heard this, and the sweet tune employed, and 
that always before its conclusion the people were 
awed into profound silence, unbroken except by the 
low sob of melting hearts. 

Thus saith the God of glory : 

I will have the world to know me, 

Since they must stand before me, 

To account for all that's done. 
I am the God of Heaven, 
Eternally am living ; 
All things are my creating, 

For I am God alone. 

Oh, sinners, will you hear me ? 
Since you cannot deceive me, 
Then come and do believe me, 

All things to me are known. 
Yourselves you are deceiving — 
My word by disbelieving ; 
Destruction you're receiving 

From me that is God alone. 

Oh, will you be reformed, 
And to my word conformed ? 
My ransom is provided, 

If you will only come ; 
But if you do refuse it, 
I never will excuse it, 
Because you do abuse it, 

For I am God alone. 

How can you stand my judgments, 
When you shall in a moment 
Hear the sounding of the trumpet, 
A-bidding you to come ? 



200 



LIFE OF 



Ah ! I will fix your station 
In hopeless desperation, 
For slighting my salvation, 
For I am God alone. 

Draw near to me, my Zion, 
For I am Judah's lion ; 
I ofttimes hear you crying, 

And listen to your moan. 
I never will forsake you, 
But ever will protect you ; 
No evil shall o'ertake you, 

For I am God alone. 

And should you lack for pleasure, 
Or if you lack for treasure, 
Serve me and serve no other ; 

All things to me "belong. 
I am the God of pleasure, 
I am the God of treasure, 
And there is none that's higher ; 

I, I am God alone. 

"Will you come, dear sinner? Yon will; let 
ns see! Yes, they are coming to Jesus — our Jesus 
— the blessed Saviour, whose delight it will be to 
pardon ! Now here are a score of the young ; where 
are the middle aged and the white heads ? My head 
is white ; I shall soon lay it in the dust ; will you 
receive good from the heart of your brother in years ? 
I am too old to trifle now ; I do not offer pardon in 
Jesus' name because it is a pleasing novelty. No ! 
it is an old theme with me, but the older the more 
loved, because a shorter time is allotted to preach 
Christ. I am drawing near to the grave; this 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



201 



tongue will soon cease its calling, these eyes will 
soon be done weeping over sinners ; but 

Happy, if, with, my latest breath, 

I may but gasp bis name ; 
Preacb him to all, and cry, in death — 

Behold ! behold the Lamb !" 

From that first night, the work began ; in a week 
from the date, to employ the language of a brother 
who was familiar with the state of feeling there — 
" the surrounding district was in a religious convul- 
sion." The church was crowded to its utmost capa- 
city, and its yard was filled with horses and carriages, 
some of which came twelve miles. A similar course 
was pursued here with that which had been adopted 
at Penn's Neck; the seats, which were movable, were 
at either side of the pulpit, formed into " a depart- 
ment," so that the seekers of religion might enter at 
one of the angles, kneel on four sides, with their 
faces outward, and the brethren employed in describ- 
ing the way of life to " the mourner," passed around 
outside, and knelt, in their loving labor, to whisper 
words of cheer to those in the penitent's place. The 
singing was of the most lively and inspiring descrip- 
tion ; the prayers short, earnest, and offered in faith; 
consequently, all who presented themselves at the 
altar were speedily " let into the light and liberty of 
God's dear children." Two weeks from the day of 
commencing, an opportunity was given for those 
wishing it, to unite with the church, and eighty-four 
presented their names as probationers. Mr. Stewart, 
upon the same day, baptized fifty-one adults. This 



202 



LIFE OF 



asserted the fact that a majority of those converted, 
had not been nourished under religious influence. 
Many of this number were men and women in the 
middle stage of life, heads of families, and some far 
advanced in years, whose heads, like that of their 
preacher, were " blossoming for the tomb." This ex- 
traordinary outpouring of the Spirit continued four 
weeks, and one hundred and twenty were hopefully 
brought into the fold of Christ, and the pale of the 
church. A number of the older part of these have 
gone shouting home to glory, since that happy day 
that fixed their choice, while others are still pursuing 
the narrow way, confidently expecting soon to hear 
the welcome plaudit, " Well done, good and faithful 
servants — enter into the joy of your Lord." From 
this place Mr. Stewart returned home to behold his 
son Joseph for the last time. All hope, and medical 
skill, and careful nursing, had availed nothing ; the 
invalid gradually grew weaker, until, in sixteen 
months from the date of his return to his parents, at 
four o'clock on the morning of the 2d of January, 
1843, he gently passed away to the better land. This 
was a severe affliction to the family, but " they sor- 
rowed not as those who were without hope." Joseph 
had given his heart to the Saviour when only eleven 
years of age, and, without vacillation, continued dur- 
ing fourteen years to be a Christian, whose character 
was worthy of emulation. A few weeks before his 
death, he expressed a wish to partake once more of 
the symbols of Christ's dying body and blood, and 
Eev. Charles T. Ford, accompanied by Kev. George 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



203 



F. Brown, went to his room, and administered it to 
his great comfort and satisfaction. He was conscious 
that he must soon go away from earth, but the 
prospect of mingling with the company of Heaven 
banished every desire to stay upon earth. He re- 
joiced greatly, as his end approached, at the thought 
of dwelling eternally with the blessed Eedeemer. 
Several times he exclaimed, " If I were a preacher, 
how I would warn the youth not to put off the work 
of salvation till laid upon a sick bed. It is a poor 
place to prepare for eternity." A few days prior to 
his death, he was deprived of the use of his reason 
upon all subjects, except religion, upon which he was 
perfectly rational, up to the hour of his dissolution. 
On the 4th instant, his remains were followed to the 
cemetery in Allowaystown, by a mournful proces- 
sion, and the solemn occasion improved by the deli- 
very of a discourse by Eev. A. Owen, from the text 
"What man is there that liveth, and will not see 
death ? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the 
grave?" Psa. lxxxix. 48. Concerning this heavy 
bereavement, Mr. Stewart wrote to a brother in 
Philadelphia, under date of January 6th, 1843. 

Dear Brother : I sit down to inform you that 
our dear Joseph is no longer an inhabitant of earth. 
The last part of his life he spent at home. He was 
happy in his mind. Though his ideas were, by pa- 
ralysis, somewhat confused, yet always, when spoken 
to about religion, he would clap his hands, and say, 
" Glory." He was a patient sufferer, and loved all 



204 



LIFE OF 



who came to see him. Before he died, he embraced, 
kissed, and bade us farewell. After being blest with 
his society so long, it was a hard trial for us to take 
him to the churchyard, and bury him in the ground. 
But oh I how improved are his circumstances now! 
Here he groaned and suffered; there he shall flourish 
in immortal youth! Oh! may we be prepared to 
meet him where parting will be no more. We are 
drinking the bitter waters of affliction, but we are 
reconciled to the will of our Heavenly Father, who 
we know is too wise to err, and too merciful to be un- 
kind. A few years more, and we shall mingle with 
that innumerable company which no man can num- 
ber, who have washed their robes, and made them 
white in the blood of the Lamb. Kemember us 
kindly to your wife, and all who think us worthy of 
their kind notice. 

Yours, very affectionately, 

THOS. Gr. STEWART. 



REV. THOMAS a. STEWART. 



205 



CHAPTER XI. 

MR. STEWART OX SWEDESBORO' CIRCUIT. 

Growing old — Constant exposure prejudicial to Ms health — Gene- 
ral affection for him — Care in sickness — No inclination to take 
a station — An increasing love for his work — Mrs. Stewart's 
ideas of his assuming a supernumerary character — Removes 
to Swedesboro' — His colleague — Origin of the church in 
Swedesboro' — Large camp-meeting — Death of David Woolf — 
Denominational unity — Happy effect — The man who objected 
to noise — A letter — Death of Martha — Mr. Stewart's longing 
for the conversion of sinners — Revivals at Sculltown,Paulsboro', 
&c. — His love for all of pure faith — Father Walker. 

The subject of this memoir was now past fifty 
years of age. His general health was good, but the 
long rides which he was constantly taking to and 
from his numerous appointments, through intensely 
cold or oppressively warm weather, and the drench- 
ing rains, searching winds and driving snows to which 
he was often roughly exposed, began to affect him 
more seriously than in previous years. He would 
never disappoint a congregation, unless positively 
prevented from meeting it by weakness or pain of 
body. Not unfrequently, after a journey of fifteen 
or twenty miles, he found himself unable to walk to 
the church after alighting from his conveyance, much 

18 



206 



LIFE OF 



less to stand an hour and preach or talk to a congre- 
gation. 

He was deeply loved by the people upon all the 
circuits which he traveled, and invariably received 
the most unremitting and tender care from the Chris- 
tian friends under whose roofs he chanced to be sick. 
From the time he left Salem Circuit, and by many, 
for years previous, he was called " Father Stewart," 
and to those who addressed him by this endearing 
title, he responded by using the gentle and affection- 
ate terms, " my dear daughter" and " my kind son." 

But although growing old in the service of God, 
he often declared he was not fatigued of his laborious 
and changing life. He betrayed more eagerness in 
his responsible avocation, as he realized his time upon 
earth shortening. He sometimes expressed an emo- 
tion of reluctance that he must so soon, in the course 
of nature, cease his work, and he always desired that 
he might "die in the harness." He had several times 
been advised to take a station, where it was supposed 
that his life would be less laborious ; but this he in- 
variably declined, affirming that a circuit was best 
suited to his manner and mind. There, if not blest 
with beholding sinners inquiring the way to Zion in 
one place, he had other places to which he might re- 
sort, and perhaps meet w T ith better success. As for 
the recommended ease, he thought it " vastly better 
to wear out than rust out." He was sometimes in- 
clined to take a supernumerary relation for one year, 
that he might renew his physical vigor, but his wife, 
who well knew his inability to refuse preaching when 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



207 



invited, opposed the proposition, declaring " he would 
kill himself with hard and incessant labor before the 
year expired."* 

His piety was of too exalted a character at this 
time to admit of any just description. They who 
enjoyed a familiar acquaintance with him were loud 
in expressions of admiration of his attainments in 
divine life. Every hour he enjoyed close and un- 
interrupted communion with the Lord Jesus Christ; 
and every day was one of repeated self-dedication, 
and of prayer and praise. He frequently became so 
absorbed in the contemplation of the just, merci- 
ful, and loving character of God, that he seemed un- 
conscious of the ordinary transactions of life around 
him. In all the varying scenes of his life, he thought, 
spoke, and acted, as one whose implicit confidence 
was in God, and whose treasure was laid up in Heaven, 
and thitherward he was continually tending with all 
the powers of his spirit. 

As he advanced toward the termination of his 
earthly pilgrimage, his graces became more illustri- 
ous, his faith waxed stronger, his humility was more 
profound, and his resignation to the entire will of God 
was made perfect. 

The Conference of 1343, held at Kew Brunswick, 
sent him to the Swedesborough Circuit with Samuel 
Y. Monroe as colleague. This was Brother Monroe's 

* It is a remarkable fact, that four years after, he withdrew 
his name from the active list at Conference, and died in nine 
months, having preached as many sermons as during any equal 
period of time from the date of his entering the ministry. 



208 



LIFE OF 



first year in the ministry. Mr. Stewart was much 
gratified with his genuine spirit of evangelization, 
and often expressed his admiration of the zeal of one, 
as yet, possessing so little experience in the itinerancy. 
They passed two harmonious and profitable years 
together, the intercourse of which bound their hearts 
firmly with unaffected love. And their love for the 
whole human family was, "without dissimulation, not 
in word, but in deed and in truth." Both were un- 
tiring in effort for the salvation of the world ; expe- 
riencing no desire aside from that of being instru- 
mental in bringing its lost sons and daughters to the 
foot of the cross. 

The appointments upon this circuit were Swedes- 
borough, Sculltown, Perkintown, Pennsgrove, Ped- 
ricktown, Eepaupa, Paulsborough, Clarksborough, 
Bridgeport, Union, and " The Stone Meeting House." 
The first of these had been founded but a few 
years before, by Messrs. Samuel Black and David 
Woolf, two brethren who seceded from the Protestant 
Episcopal Church in that place, and donating the 
ground to a small society, worshipping in an old 
stone church, two miles distant, assisted in the erec- 
tion of a large and commodious place of worship, in 
the very centre of the town. The society flourished 
under the preaching of the word; the membership 
rapidly increased, and the church debt was soon swept 
away. This effected, a tract of several acres and a 
parsonage were purchased in the suburbs, where the 
minister resided, for whose benefit were intended the 
products of " the farm." 

To this location Mr. Stewart removed, and it was 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



209 



his happy privilege to enjoy its abundance during 
two years. His existence was here checkered by 
joy in witnessing many sinners brought to Christ, 
and by sorrow elicited in the loss of his youngest 
daughter. 

A camp-meeting was held in the woods of Mr. 
Samuel Black, in August of the first year. It was 
near the Delaware Eiver, aud this, affording an easy 
facility for access from all parts of the country, 
brought thousands to the spot. There were three 
hundred tents, and it was estimated that fifteen 
thousand people were present upon the last day. 
Powerful discourses were delivered by Eevs. Charles 
T. Ford, John Lenheart, John K. Shaw, George A. 
Raybold, and Abram K. Street, of the New Jersey 
Conference, and several brethren from the Phila- 
delphia Conference, which were blessed to the 
awakening of sinners. Perhaps the circuit was less 
profited than if the meeting had been smaller; but 
hundreds of new-born souls went rejoicing to distant 
homes who had resorted to the place more for the 
enjoyment of a rural excursion than with a sincere 
desire for spiritual improvement or reformation. 

The last Sabbath, after the meeting had been 
formally dismissed on Saturday, and when a majority 
of the tents had been taken down, the people of the 
circuit, however, enjoyed beneficial occasions. The 
minds of penitents were less distracted by the mov- 
ing about of masses of people, and the confusion 
which was unavoidable among the crowds who had 
thronged the ground previously. 

18* 



210 



LIFE OF 



A few weeks subsequent to the camp-meeting, the 
church at Swedesborough suffered an irreparable 
loss in the death of David Woolf, who has been re- 
ferred to as one of the fathers of Methodism in that 
place. His funeral sermon was preached by Eev. 
Sedgewick Eusling, ' in the church which stands a 
monument to his, and the liberality of his friend 
Samuel Black* 

The Episcopalian and the Methodist were the only 
denominations in this town, and between their mem- 
bers there existed the most admirable Christian 
harmony. In several families, part were of one 
church and part of the other; yet between them 
was always maintained that beautiful spirit of unity 
which is always characteristic of the genuine fol- 
lower of Christ. Between the clergymen of the two 
sects there sprang up an intimacy which had a 
salutary effect upon the minds of the community. 
In the time of a protracted effort in the Methodist 
church, the Episcopalians brought their children 
that they might profit by the preaching and ani- 
mated exercises of the prayer-meeting; some of 
them were happily converted, and connected them- 
selves with whichever branch of Christ's church 
their inclination led them to, and when this was 
from the communion of their parents, no dissatisfac- 
tion was apparent; but all rejoiced together as Chris- 
tains who were only probationers for a few years 

* Since the writing of this, Mr. Black has also joined the re- 
deemed in heaven. 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



211 



upon the snores of time, but who might in death 
enter upon an eternity of bliss, if possessed of a 
pure heart and a right spirit. This meeting resulted 
in the addition of thirty-five souls to the church in 
Swedesborough. 

A Mr. David G , who attended it from the 

commencement, was deeply convicted of sin, and 
his seriousness being observed, Mr. Stewart labored 
assiduously to effect from it " the issues of salvation." 
But the naturally obstinate heart of this sinner 
against God, refused to pursue the advice of a Chris- 
tain friend: the " excitement and confusion" con- 
nected with the altar were offensive to his " prudent 
and orderly" ideas of religion. One evening, after 
an exhortation, which stirred the feelings of Mr. 

G with still greater terror on account of his 

exposed condition, he was persuaded to kneel in the 
pew where he had been sitting, and thus signify his 
desire of salvation, and his intention of seeking the 
Lord Jesus in the pardon of sin. He became ex- 
ceedingly earnest in prayer ; cried lustly to the God 
of pardon to remit his transgressions, and was con- 
verted from the error of his ways and opinions, 
shouting in a tone more nearly approaching " noise" 
than any that was heard at the altar. 

In a similar manner with that witnessed at Swedes- 
borough, the Lord made bare his arm and gave his 
pleasure to prosper in his servants' hands at Union, 
Clarksborough, and Pennsgrove, with the addition 
of a few names at all the other appointments. 

While thus successfully and joyfully laboring in 



212 



LIFE OF 



the vineyard of his Master, Mr. Stewart was again 
called to experience great mental affliction in the 
apprehended death of Martha. She was in her 
seventeenth year; a girl admired and loved by all 
her acquaintances and friends on account of the 
natural sweetness of her disposition and the gentle- 
ness of her heart. She was completing her education 
at an institution in Swedesborough, to and from 
which she walked every day. She was deeply in- 
terested in her studies, and permitted no degree of 
inclement weather to deter her from recitation. Her 
perseverance in this way resulted in the contraction 
of a cold which assumed a pulmonary form, and no 
arm could rescue her from the relentless grasp of 
death. The following letter to a friend in Philadel- 
phia, dated eleven days before her death, exhibits 
Mr. Stewart's feelings at that time. 

Swedesborough, August 11, 1844. 

Dear Brother : I sit down to inform you that I 
am yet among the living, and laboring as usual in 
the Lord's vineyard. My voice is not so strong as for- 
merly, but I still try to advance the cause of our holy 
religion, and trust I have been, in some degree, suc- 
cessful. I feel like standing in my lot till the end of 
my days. I have an extensive and weighty charge — 
about twelve hundred members to look after, and, be- 
sides, I have the unconverted to seek, and be instru- 
mental in saving. I begin to look toward a resting- 
place ; from long and arduous labors, and the weight 
of years, my strength is failing. My own money is 



KEY. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



213 



now nearly all expended; where I shall find a home 
when I am no longer able to take charge of regular 
work, I do not know. I think Providence will pro- 
vide some place. The Lord has hitherto provided, 
and that God in whom I have put my trust for many 
years, I believe will not leave me in age. Had I my 
life to live again, I would endeavor to be more holy. 
I often indulge in retrospection ; I have some things 
to sorrow for, but I rejoice at the recollection of 
religious prosperity. In the revivals, on the circuits 
where I have labored, four thousand souls have teen 
received into the Methodist connection. I can never suffi- 
ciently thank God for his mercy in redemption. My 
eldest daughter, who resides in Port Elizabeth, has 
been in poor health during the last year, but, by the 
goodness of God, is convalescent. My wife has been 
sick, and is not yet fully recovered. Her vigorous 
constitution has also begun to yield. Sarah and 
William are well. But the health of poor Martha 
has been declining for the last four months. She 
has pulmonary consumption, is confined to her bed, 
and all hope of her recovery has fled. This is very 
afflicting. Pray for us. I shall also soon pass to 

" That undiscovered country, from whose bourne 
No traveler returns." 

I hope to unite with that company that knows no 
sorrow I Oh, what a glad prospect has the Christian ! 
When a few more griefs I've tasted, I shall sing in 
a land where grief embitters not the experience. 
Our suffering Martha often referred to the pleasure 



214 



LIFE OF 



she enjoyed at your house in the city. Joseph has 
gone, and she is fast going. The Lord's will be done. 
She has a good hope of a blissful immortality. Please 
present my respects to your family. 

I remain, as ever, 

Yours, very affectionately, 

THOS. Gr. STEWART. 

Martha failed much more speedily than her bro- 
ther. A week previous, an immediate change was 
not looked for. A circumstance connected with her 
death, shows Mr. Stewart's eagerness for the salvation 
of men, in a strong light. He was invited to attend 
a camp-meeting on Salem Circuit ; and, complying 
with the request of the brethren, he went to the 
ground, and while preaching, the intelligence of her 
death was communicated to him. Big tears of grief 
coursed down his furrowed cheek, as he advanced to 
the front of the stand, and said: "I knew, when I 
came to this place, that my youngest daughter must 
soon die ; but I did not suppose her end was so near. 
I loved her with all the fondness of a father's heart, 
and I loved my Joseph, who died two years agone ! 
Dear sinner, dear sinner, / can bury my Joseph, and 
I can bury my Martha, but I cannot see you die without 
any hope of eternal happiness!" Martha, agreeably to 
her own request, was laid beside her brother in the 
cemetery at Allowaystown, and Eev. S. Y. Monroe 
preached an appropriate and touching funeral dis- 
course, from " The righteous hath hope in death." 
During the last year of her life, she constantly desired 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



215 



and strove to progress religiously. Her unceasing 
cry was : " Oh ! for a closer walk with God," &c. 
She endured her affliction with unexampled patience, 
and never expressed a wish to remain in the world 
longer than her Heavenly Father chose to permit her 
to suffer. She was not altogether free from the 
assaults of Satan, but triumphed at last by faith, and 
rejoiced in unclouded prospect of meeting those who 
had passed on before. 

Martha, ivitli folded arms across her breast, 

Now low the valley sod beneath, is laid, 
And she, the loved of all, lies calm at rest, 

Where blooming woodbine flowers perfnme and shade. 
Around her tomb the blossoms hang in showers, 
True emblem of her short life here, and ours ! 

In the fall and winter of 1844, gracious revivals of 
religion were enjoyed at Paulsboro', Sculltown, and 
at a church called the Neck Chapel, five miles from 
Swedesborough. In the three appointments one hun- 
dred and seventy-five were received on probation. ,:At 
the latter place, among the penitents who presented 
themselves at the altar, was one in whose firmness so 
little confidence was placed, that a leading member of 
the charge suggested the propriety of advising her to 
desist from seeking. She was distinguished for a 
foolish vacillation in all things in which she engaged, 
and her presence at the altar, it was feared, would 
only prove a stumbling-block, or an occasion of 
offence, to others. Mr. Stewart pleaded for the lady, 
who really seemed in earnest for her soul's salvation. 
She professed conversion, and joined the church. 



216 



LIFE OF 



All things are possible, if Christ strengthened ; she 
rejoiced in a consciousness of God's love for several 
weeks, and then suddenly falling ill, was called to 
dwell with angels in Paradise, leaving no shadow of 
doubt upon the minds of the membership, but that 
sha had gone well. Sculltown was proverbially " a 
wicked little town." Mr. Stewart was never better 
satisfied than when opposing the enemy successfully 
in such fields. The religious exercises were attended 
here with extraordinary power, and produced signal 
results. It was emphatically pronounced "a high 
time in Golgotha." The people came in from the sur- 
rounding country, hungering for the word of life. 
Men and women bowed before the power of the 
word, as trees before a rushing, mighty wind, and 
" the slain of the Lord were many." The excitement 
was inteuse. Both preachers labored as though this 
were their final hearing before sinners, and transgres- 
sors fled to lay hold on the hope set before them. 
Strong men cried aloud in the congregation. Others, 
destroying their violins and games of chance, with 
which they had been accustomed to serve Satan, 
and which were indissolubly associated with his 
majesty's diabolical service, knelt meekly around the 
altar of prayer, and, in sacrificing " a right arm," or 
" an eye," realized the truth of the sentiment, " If 
from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou 
shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart 
and with all thy soul." There was some opposition 
to the work, and some of the fiercer sort came to the 
church to mock or scoff at holy things; but, in nearly 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



217 



every instance of this kind, conviction fastened upon 
the scorner, and the power of God brought him to 
sue for pardon at the feet of Bleeding Mercy. A 
number of the stanch supporters of Methodism in 
Sculltown are those who were once its most violent 
denouncers. Several, who lived for years to honor 
the Lord who saved them at that time, have died in 
hope of a better resurrection. 

The revival at Paulsboro' commenced of itself — 
without extraordinary labor, and continued through 
several weeks, without opposition or interruption. 
This was a Methodist community. Men of wealth 
and influence were in the church, and their children, 
who had been trained in " the nurture and admoni- 
tion of the Lord," followed in the footsteps of holy 
parents. 

But little excitement prevailed at any time during 
the progress of the protracted meeting. While, 
however, it was seldom possible to elicit an expres- 
sion of religious emotion, under almost every ser- 
mon, both the converted and the unconverted parts 
of the congregation were moved to tears. Sinners 
seemed to come to Christ from a sense of duty, or 
obligation, without repeated efforts to thwart the 
gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, or to postpone 
the all-important work till " a more convenient sea- 
son." 

On the whole of Swedesboro' Circuit, Mr. Stewart 
pronounced the professing Christians "a peculiar 
people, zealous of good works." The rapid and 
steady advancement of the cause of religion among 
19 



218 



LIFE OF 



them, he attributed, in a great measure, to the fact that 
" the people had a mind to work ;" and in reviewing 
his field at the close of his labors, deep and enduring 
pleasure was afforded him. He was deeply and con- 
scientiously attached to the Methodists, to their theo- 
logy and intinerant arrangements ; at the same time, 
he held every section of Christ's church in equal 
depth of affection, provided they were pure in re- 
spect to faith and piety. The discipline of our 
church he thought preserved a more definite distinc- 
tion between the professor and the worldling, and 
its peculiar institutions were a stronger hold upon 
the young converts, because in them was a means of 
fanning the flame of kindling piety. With a sincere 
and Christian respect for all who love the Lord Jesus 
Christ, he had resolved, long ago, in regard to his 
Methodist brethren, " This people shall be my peo- 
ple, and their Glod my God ;" nevertheless, he had 
many tenderly regarded friends in other denomina- 
tions. And one of these was Mr. Brown, the rector 
of the Episcopal Church in Swedesboro'. He en- 
joyed pleasant, socia], Christian intercourse with him 
for eighteen months ; mourned his sudden death — 
which occurred in the autumn of 1844 — and, after 
seeing his bodily remains deposited in the grave, 
listened to his funeral sermon from the chancel of 
the bereaved church. At Clarksboro', upon Swedes- 
boro' Circuit, with his daughter Mary Ann, lived the 
venerable father in Methodism, Kev. John Walker. 
Though arrived at " threescore and ten," he still con- 
tinued occasionally to lift his feeble voice in honor 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



219 



of that cause which had occupied his undivided at- 
tention for oyer fifty years. A few years later he 
passed to his reward. 

TThen conversing about Father "Walker, Mr. Stew- 
art expressed an oft-repeated desire that his labors 
and his life might be terminated together, and with 
his resigned prayer in this matter, the assertion of 
the Psalmist was verified, "The Lord will fulfil the 
desire of them that love him.' ? 

Shrinking from the cold hand of death, 

I soon shall gather np my feet ; 
Shall soon resign this fleeting breath, 

And die — my father's God to meet. 

Numbered among thy people, I 

Expect With joy thy face to see ; 
Because thou didst for sinners die, 

Jesus, in death remember me. 

Oh that, without a lingering groan, 

I may the welcome word receive ; 
My body with my charge lay down, 

And cease at once to work and live. 

Walk with me through the dreadful shade, 

And. certified that thou art mine, 
My spirit, calm and undismayed, 

I shall into thy hands resign. 

No anxious doubt, no guilty gloom, 

Shall damp whom Jesus' presence cheers ; 

My Light, my Life, my God is come. 
And glory in his face appears. 



220 



LIFE OF 



CHAPTEE XII. 

MR. STEWART OK MOORESTOWN CIRCUIT. 

Extract — His humility and fitness for Ms work — Still labors with 
unabated eagerness — Appointments on bis new charge — A 
sense of responsibility — Commends himself and his people to 
God — Faith — Methodism in Moorestown — Plan concerted to 
interest the people — Success — A protracted meeting — Blessed 
results — A dream — Conversion of a young lady who avoided 
a protracted meeting — Changed spiritual aspect of the town — 
The swearer converted — Sudden death of a scorner — Revivals 
in various parts of the circuit — Close of the year — Solicited 
to return — Consents — Two colleagues — Death of his daughter 
Maria — A new church — Revival therein — Cries of penitents 
interrupt the preacher — The ministerial trio at Blackwood- 
town — Success — Close of the year. 

" He who engages himself to fight the battles of 
the Lord," says the Kev. Mr. Gilpin, " has need of 
uncommon strength and irresistible arms ; aod if he 
be destitute of one or the other, he vainly expects 
to stand in the evil day. The Christian warrior is 
exposed to a vast variety of dangers, and is beset 
with innumerable enemies. His whole life is one 
continual scene of warfare, in which he wrestles 
sometimes with visible, sometimes with invisible 
adversaries." For the labors of the sacred warfare, 



KEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



221 



Mr. Stewart considered himself altogether unequal 
and deficient; he considered himself the weakest of 
Christ's followers, and unworthy to bear his glorious 
banner. But while he presumed to boast of no 
inherent power, and was ever ready to accept the 
most undesirable post, he was regarded by his 
brethren as a man " strong in the Lord, and in the 
power of his might." United to Christ as the branch 
to the vine, he was constantly deriving abundant 
supplies of vigor from the fountain-head of power. 
Mr. Stewart's resignation and fortitude were remark- 
able ; by the former he was enabled to grapple with 
the strongest enemy ; by the latter, he was taught 
" to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus 
Christ." " From his first admission to the true church 
militant, he was fully persuaded that armor forged 
by the art of man must needs be insufficient either 
for conquest or security in a spiritual warfare. He 
saw it absolutely necessary to be furnished with 
weapons of celestial temper, and was dissatisfied 
with his state till he had put on the whole armor of 
God, with a determined resolution never to put it off 
till his last conflict should be decided. He then 
appeared in the complete Christian uniform; from 
the helmet of salvation to the sandals of peace, all 
was entire and perfectly fitted for his spiritual frame. 
No mortal part was left unguarded, nor was any 
joint of his harness so loose as to admit of a thrust 
from the enemy. 

" On no occasion was he ever known to affect any- 
thing like spiritual pomp ; yet, on every occasion 
19* 



222 



LIFE OF 



was there a dignity of character in his deportment 
that raised the veneration of any beholder. As the 
heroes of antiquity were distinguished from warriors 
of an inferior order by the splendor of their arms, so, 
by the uncommon lustre of his graces, he was dis- 
tinguished as a chieftain in the Christian bands." 

"Up to this time," says Mrs. Stewart, "in all his 
toil, endurance and privation, I never heard a mur- 
mur escape my husband's lips. When favored with 
temporal or spiritual blessings, he was humbled by 
an acknowledged sense of un worthiness, and praised 
God for remembering the low estate of his servant. 
When afflicted or depressed, he attributed his trials 
to the providence of God, and alluding to the fact 
that his Lord and Saviour was "made perfect through 
suffering" — prayed that a similar glorious result 
might be effected in his own experience." 

Conference, in the spring of 1845, was held in 
Mount Holly, and Mr. Stewart, agreeably to an in- 
vitation tendered several months before, was enter- 
tained, during the session, at the house of Mr. Charles 
Bates. This gentleman exercised an exemplary be- 
nevolence, foreshadowing that genuine and exemplary 
Christian character which afterwards signalized his 
religious walk. 

Although fatigued with the constant and severe 
labors of Swedesborough Circuit, Mr. Stewart seemed 
eager to be favored with one of no less dimensions. 
When spoken to concerning Moorestown Circuit, he 
showed no symptoms of unwillingness to accept the 
charge, although it was known to be considerably 



KEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



223 



heavier than his last. He was consequently set down 
for this place, and his family was removed to the 
village of Moorestown, the last of April. Eevs. 
Joseph Sleeper and Kodney Winans had preceded 
him; the latter was continued, having been there 
but one year. The appointments at this time were 
Moorestown, Bridgeborough, Bethel, Asbury, Cooper- 
town, Gibbsborough, Long-a-coming, Blackwoodto wn, 
Chew's Landing, Waterford, and Jackson. Kancocas 
was adopted in the course of the first year ; making 
in all twelve, and these were scattered at a long dis- 
tance from each other. Nevertheless, this man of 
temerity and energy surveyed the schedule of his 
new circuit with apparent gratification, and thanked 
God for the privilege of preaching to so many people, 
as in it, he would have afforded a wide opportunity 
of warning sinners, and beseeching them for Christ's 
sake to be reconciled to God. 

He felt an increased weight of responsibility, and 
divesting himself of all self-reliance, before commenc- 
ing his labors, he threw himself before God, and with 
groanings of spirit, besought strength from the Om- 
nipotent, and the unceasing presence of him without 
whom no good can be accomplished. That God who 
delights to hear and answer prayer, vouchsafed an 
assurance in the mind of the supplicant, that an 
abundant spiritual harvest should be gathered ; and 
he " went forth bearing precious seed," confidently 
expecting "to come again with rejoicing, bringing 
his sheaves with him." There was but one Methodist 
brother who resided in Moorestown, and this was the 



224 



LIFE OF 



sexton of the church. There were several stanch 
members, who were farmers, living a few miles out 
of the village, but the whole membership did not ex- 
ceed fifty, and the congregations, during Mr. Stewart's 
first six months, did not half fill the house. There 
was but one class; this was led by Mr. Deacon Brock, 
a zealous advocate for the claims of Methodism, who 
declared he would cling to his sect as long "as there 
was a single plank left in her structure." The strong 
opposing influences in the place rendered it hard for 
the Methodists to survive; in fact, for several years 
they had decreased in numbers. To the untiring 
ardor and persevering exertions of Brothers Deacon 
Brock, John Hankison and Macajah Dobbins, the ex- 
istence of any membership at all, may be traced. Mr. 
Stewart viewed this truly deplorable state of affairs 
in the town of his residence with much pain, and ap- 
pealed to God for instruction how to proceed in order 
to enlarge Zion's borders. He looked around and 
saw the Baptists and the Episcopalians in a flourish- 
ing condition, and he inquired, " Ought not Metho- 
dism, with her many means of grace, her specially 
advantageous institutions, to prosper, at least as 
much as these ?" He did not know, or ask, what 
had been the plans and movements of his predeces- 
sors, but concerted a system for himself, upon which 
he implored the blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

He sought opportunities to become familiar with 
the citizens of the town, and, as often as time would 
permit, rode out into the country among the farmers, 
talking everywhere about Jesus' dying love, and the 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



225 



design of his mission to earth. He found this pro- 
cedure had a most satisfactory and happy effect in 
bringing out those who had become cold and indif- 
ferent concerning important matters, and enticing 
men and women of altogether worldly minds to fre- 
quent the courts of the Lord's house, 

Early in the fall a protracted meeting was com- 
menced, but owing to the exceeding sterility of the 
spot, a week elapsed before any encouraging symp- 
toms of prosperity were visible. The congregation, 
however, slowly increased, and greater seriousness 
among the people began to be observed. At length 
a few youths were induced to "remember their Crea- 
tor," and present an acceptable offering of the fresh- 
ness and strength of their juvenile hearts to him who 
redeemed them with his own most precious blood. 
The clear conversion of some of these deeply im- 
pressed older hearts, and several acknowledged their 
desire for the joys which come by believing on the 
Lord Jesus Christ; but to induce them to act now 
in the matter, seemed impossible. At this juncture 
Mr. Stewart had a dream, which, though he did not 
ordinarily place any particular confidence in visions 
or impressions, strangely strengthened his spirit. 
He fancied himself walking through a large orchard, 
upon whose trees, although it was in the proper season, 
no fruit could be seen. He at length arrived at its 
termination, and upon the very last tree were a few 
unripe cherries. 

These were carefully and closely watched, and in 
that wonderfully short period of time which dreams 



226 



LIFE OF 



require to perform such operations, they were ripened. 
A second glance at the trees which he had passed, 
presented to view other and larger fruits, which, 
though still indistinct from their being of the same 
color as the leaves, gradually reddened and became beauti- 
fully conspicuous. Mr. Stewart's mind involuntarily 
interpreted this dream, and thanking God for the en- 
couragement it afforded, he said to his wife, " We 
shall have a glorious time in Moorestown yet." 

Soon after this one of the most influential men of 
the town bowed an humble suppliant in the church, 
and in a few days professed conversion. "Other 
fruit" of the labors of the ministry was soon per- 
ceived, and in five weeks the membership was doubled; 
fifty joining on probation. In this work, the Eevs. 
William P. Corbet, Charles Kingsbury, Crook Yan- 
cleve, and John Blythe, afforded assistance, and the 
church was too small to contain the people who were 
attracted to the place. Among the converts were 
sturdy farmers, energetic mechanics, and intelligent, 
active young men and women, who greatly strength- 
ened the cause of religion, and entered heartily into 
the labors of the Sabbath school. 

A young lady residing in the vicinity of " New 
Salem Church," in Philadelphia, whose parents were 
opposed to her connecting herself with the Metho- 
dists, came on a visit to some friends near Moores- 
town, about this time, that she might avoid the possi- 
bility of yielding to a strong inclination to attend a 
meeting in progress at that church. These " friends' 
came to see the work in Moorestown, and Miss P 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



227 



accompanied them. She saw that to fly from oppor- 
tunity to seek God was impossible, and she felt that 
all effort to put aside conviction of sin was still 
more useless. This state of feeling was unfolded 
to the lady she was visiting, who, being herself a 
Christian, advised her to embrace religion without 
procrastination. The step was taken, and she was 
soundly converted to God. So powerfully was she 
blessed that she remained in a state of unconscious- 
ness for several hours. She was taken to the par- 
sonage, where she remained during the night, and, 
after wholesome advice from Mr. Stewart, which she 
promised to follow, she departed rejoicing in the 
indubitable evidence of pardoned sin. 

After the close of the protracted meeting, Mr- 
Stewart found himself surrounded by nine Metho- 
dist families in Moorestown ; and several others, one 
or two of whose number had joined the church, 
welcomed him warmly to their houses. On the 
street he was accosted by those who claimed him as 
their spiritual father, and expressed the gratitude of 
their appreciative hearts in ecstatic language, that 
never failed to bring tears to his eyes and the praise 
of Christ to his lips. 

Brother B , who, previous to his conversion, 

had been addicted to profanity, called at the par- 
sonage and u confessed'' to having, in an unguarded 
moment, repeated an oath, which at one time had 
frequently escaped him without producing anxiety. 
Ignorant of the wiles of Satan, he was strongly in- 
clined to yield to the temptation that he had not yet 



228 



LIFE OF 



passed "from death, unto life;" or if he had, that 
the culpable violation of a commandment should 
excommunicate him from the fellowship and sym- 
pathy of the church. He was much cast down and 
perplexed in his mind, and riot until assured by 
Mr. Stewart that his anxiety was a proof of the 
genuineness of his change of heart, would he consent 
to permit his name to remain upon the class-book. A 

second brother B , who, to employ the language 

of another, had in consecrating his life to the Saviour, 
been " compelled to cut off both arms and pluck out 
both eyes," was railed by his deserted companions 
on account of his new and straight course of conduct. 
" Elisha," said one, " we suppose you will not come 
into the bar-room and take a convivial drink with 
us; we understand the marrow has been extracted 
from your bones." 

The man who uttered this sentence, before enter- 
ing that " bar-room" again, was borne past it upon 
the shoulders of four friends, and in dying he left 
no hope of a preparation to stand with joy and com- 
posure in the presence of his Judge in the great day. 

Was this one of the judgments that invariably 
follow rejected offers of mercy ? 

Eevivals were had during the winter at "Waterford, 
Blackwoodtown, Bethel, Gibbsborough, Coopertown, 
and Asbury. The first of these was a town whose 
inhabitants were chiefly glass manufacturers, and 
those engaged about the factories. Almost every 
house was visited graciously, and the society was 
greatly strengthened by the enlisting of a score of 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



229 



strong-nerved men, who labored from the first with 
their " might," for the propagation of the cause they 
had espoused. 

At Bethel, the work was extraordinary; whole 
families, with united heart and strength, coming into 
the church simultaneously. One of these was that of 
Mr. Wm. Stowe, which stands, at this day, a monument 
of the mercy of God, displayed at that time, and of 
the power of Christ " to keep them whom the Father 
gives him, that no man shall be able to pluck them 
out of his hand." 

One of the liberal brethren of the charge had a 
wife who was a refined and amiable Quakeress. She 
was, at this meeting, brought to an experimental 
knowledge of pardoned sin, by a direct and indis- 
putable witness of adoption into the family of heaven, 
and thenceforward walked "in, the light as Christ is 
in the light." 

Brother and Sister Browning, from this date, 
became warm friends of Mr. Stewart, and he remem- 
bered and spoke of the many exhibitions of their 
unfeigned love, during the week in which his demise 
occurred. 

At Asbury and Coopertown, the congregations 
were large beyond precedent, and goodly numbers 
reinforced the Christian regiments of the places. 

During the whole of Mr. Stewart's first year on 
Moorestown Circuit, he continued to labor with una- 
bated fervor and zeal. He was seldom home long 
at a time, except when his appointment chanced to 
fall in Moorestown, and then every hour, except the 
20 



230 



LIFE OF 



sacred one of the Sabbath, was spent in visiting and 
exhorting them with whom God has blessed his 
ministrations to be "steadfast, immovable, fixed; 
always abounding in the work of the Lord." In 
this way, those recently converted were preserved 
from backsliding, or omitting duties; and he ex- 
pressed it as his opinion that " more good was often 
accomplished by one visit than by two sermons." 

The people admired his temper, his zeal, his socia- 
bility, his self-denial, and his fidelity to the cause he 
represented ; and in view of all these, they loved him. 
He often expressed a sense of obligation to the 
brethren and sisters of Moorestown Circuit for the 
sentiments which they kindly uttered, but he always 
added, " I seek not the eulogies of men." 

Nevertheless, he thought it a very great treasure 
to have a good name, which, in his opinion, was 
rather to be chosen than great riches. Of one thing 
he was confident : he had never shunned to declare 
the whole counsel of God, nor sought to soften the 
truth. God was his witness that he had endeavored 
from the first to declare the gospel of the grace of 
God with all simplicity and plainness. And, in the 
consciousness of having done eight, he was happy, 
and praised God out of a pure heart fervently. 

Before repairing to Conference, in 1846, he again 
thought seriously of " a rest year ;" this, he reflected, 
would be the more convenient now that his daughter 
Sarah was married, and his youngest son absent 
from home. Being, however, earnestly solicited to 
return the second year, he nerved himself for " one 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



231 



more campaign" and went to Newark, April 21st, 
resolved to return, if the good pleasure of Provi- 
dence had so ordained it. In this event, the people 
of the circuit consented to defray the expenses of a 
third preacher; and Kevs. William Eodgers and 
John I. Morrow were appointed his colleagues. 

Mr. and Mrs. Stewart were alone ; their youngest 
son, now 14 years old, had gone to Bordentown, 
where he was engaged in a store. One of the 
brethren at Moorestown proposed to board the minis- 
ter and his wife, and they, in view of the solitude 
which must fall to Mrs. Stewart in her husband's 
absence, accepted the proposition. She was kindly 
cared for, throughout the year, by the friends with 
whom she made her home. Letters from Mr. Coombs 
informed them of the illness of their daughter Maria ; 
and the apprehensions awakened in their mind at the 
first were never allayed. Consumption, which had 
robbed them of two children, seized a third ; and 
before a year, Maria fell a victim to its ravages. 
Her remains were laid in the churchyard at Port 
Elizabeth. Eev. Thos. Christopher, who visited her 
frequently in her illness, wrote and published the 
following obituary: — 

"Anna Maria was early taught the necessity of 
religion by her pious parents ; and, at the age of 17 
years, she was soundly converted to God, and re- 
joiced in the knowledge of sins forgiven. She soon 
joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which 
she continued a faithful member until her death. It 
might be said of her that she was an every-day 



232 



LIFE OF 



Christian ; and the great burden of her mind was to 
know how she might accomplish the greatest amount 
of good. During her protracted illness, her confi- 
dence in God was unshaken, and when the last and 
critical hour arrived, her moral sky was perfectly 
clear, and she was all the time happy in the love of 
the Saviour, entertaining a bright prospect of a 
better home in heaven. She spoke to her friends a 
few hours before her decease, and said to them : 
* These light afflictions, which are but for a moment, 
work for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight 
of glory.' She uttered the sentence with apparent 
delight and resignation. She had much to try her 
faith, but she came out of the furnace like gold tried 
in the fire, and was able to exhibit the power of 
sanctifying grace ; for during the whole of her afflic- 
tion, she was never heard to utter one murmur or 
complaint; and when called to step into the cold 
waves of Jordan, she feared no evil, but passed over 
triumphantly, victoriously crying, with her last breath 
— 'Jesus ! Jesus !' " 

A few weeks after the opening of Mr. Stewart's 
second year on Moorestown Circuit, the enterprising 
Christians of Bridgeborough commenced the erection 
of a new church in that place. It was completed in 
the summer, and the dedication sermon preached. 

Meetings were protracted during several weeks, 
and scores sought and found peace in believing — 

"Asked and received in Jesus' name." 

One Sabbath evening, at the beginning of service, a 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 233 



voice was distinctly heard near the church, earnestly 
praying " Lord, have mercy on my soul! Save 
the vilest of the vile ! Turn not thy face from one 
who seeks the salvation of his immortal soul, 
through the merits of Jesus' blood ! Hast thou not 
promised, Lord, to receive all that come unto 
thee? Are not thy promises sure? Reveal thyself 
to the prince of sinners ! Eeveal thyself now!'' 

This earnest penitent was sought, and at length 
found, kneeling upon the ground, in a grove that 
stood back of the church, where he had become so 
engrossed with the spirit of sincere supplication, 
that his thoughts were closed to all beside. He was 
led to the church, and Mr. Stewart, after singing and 
prayer, arose to announce his text, when he was in- 
terrupted by a second ebullition of the penitent's 
surcharged heart. "0 Lord, have mercy on my 
soul, for Jesus' sake! I cannot cease nor rest till 
pure within; and Jesus' blood can make the foulest 
clean; his blood availed for me.' 5 The evidently sin- 
cere and agonized tones of this man won the sym- 
pathy of the preacher's heart. Other seekers caught 
the spirit of wrestling, and in a few minutes the 
church fairly resounded with the cries of penitent 
sinners. Mr. Stewart thought it advisable to desist 
from his intention of preaching, and descending to 
the altar, said — 

" The Spirit of the Lord, in answer to prayer, is 
working among the people. Sinners do not require 
preaching to-night; they are convinced of their lost 
condition, feel their inbred corruption, and are ready 



234: 



LIFE OF 



tp lay hold on the hope set before them. Let them 
come up here, where we can labor with, and for 
them! See how they fly to Jesus! When penitents 
come thus, the blessing is soon. obtained! 

Weary souls, that wander wide, 

From the central point of bliss ; 
Turn to Jesus crucified, 

Turn to those dear wounds of his ; 
Sink into the purple flood, 
Rise into the life of God. 

Find in Christ the way of peace — 

Peace unspeakable — unknown ; 
By his pain, he gives you ease, 

Life, by his expiring groan ; 
Rise, exalted by his fall — 
Find in Christ your all in all. 

During this short exhortation, and the repeating 
of these stanzas, the altar was filled with men and 
women, inquiring what they must do to be saved ; 
and one of the most extraordinary occasions which 
Mr. Stewart witnessed in the annals of his ministry, 
he was permitted to enjoy that night. He had often 
expressed a wish, upon closing a meeting, that the one 
on the following night might begin where its pre- 
decessor terminated; and this memorable Sabbath 
evening at Bridgeborough he acknowledged was the 
realization of his most ardent desire in that way. In 
this work the preachers upon the circuit were aided 
materially by "William Sharp, a local preacher resid- 
ing in the vicinity, and by Daniel Stockton, John 
Hankison, and Macajah Dobbins, energetic, working 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART, 



235 



Christians, -whom no extent of religions exercise 
seemed to disqualify or injure. 

For five months the ministerial trio labored with- 
out cessation in protracted meetings. Not a single 
appointment was omitted. Air. Stewart appeared to 
work, indeed, as though impressed that this would 
be his "last campaign;" vet he never expressed a 
doubt but that he should repair his physical defi- 
ciencies, and 20 forth with renewed spiritual strength 
and purpose, after a twelvemonth furlough. He was 
absent from home almost constantly; sometimes 
would arrive in Moorestown, from one extremity of 
the circuit, tarry an hour to rest his horse, and then, 
repacking his portmanteau, and re-furnishing his 
medicine box, speed off to an opposite quarter, and 
preach with all his might the same evening. A 
. rious outpouring of the spirit of the Highest 
crowned the ministerial efforts in Blackwoodtown, 
during the month of December. The variety of 
talent and style with which the circuit was favored, 
was brought to bear upon this place. First came 
Mr. Stewart with a presentation or the terrors of the 
law, accompanied by loud exhortations to flee the 
wrath to come. Mr. Morrow followed with glowing, 
imagined portraits of the glory that shall be revealed 
in the saints who ,; wash their robes, and make them 
white in the blood of the Lamb." Mr. Eodgers, with 
superlative tenderness, brought up the rear, by con- 
templating the love of Jesus, so signally displayed in 
his poignant sufferings and ignominious death which 
he proposed, in order to effect the redemption of a 



236 



LIFE OF 



guilty world, having no claim upon his mediation. 
The preaching of the word was followed by the most 
desirable results : the membership were built up in 
their most holy faith; backsliders were reclaimed; 
and sinners were converted, and connected them- 
selves with the church. The year was one of unu- 
sual enjoyment and prosperity on the circuit. Mr. 
Stewart's last two years were ones, the recollection 
of which afforded him much comfort when realizing 
that he must soon die, and account for the moments 
given him to preach to sinners in the world ; ones to 
whose every hour he could revert, and see no misem- 
ploy ment. He acknowledged, at their close, that he 
had not labored as he might have done, and declared, 
if his health would permit, and Conference allow, he 
would willingly return a third year, and work still 
more energetically for the eternal salvation of poor 
dying sinners. "When he glanced at the appoint- 
ments, and saw the numbers who attended regularly 
upon the means of grace, some of whom appeared 
11 almost persuaded to become Christians," and yet not 
altogether resolved to lay down the weapons of their 
rebellion, his heart's warm, earnest aspirations went 
out for them, and he could not repress a strong de- 
sire to return, and strive to hold up Christ in a more 
effectual manner. "After traveling thousands of 
miles, in all sorts of weather," inquires he, "what 
have I done? My preaching has been poor and 
weak, and I am an unprofitable servant ! Yet God 
has smiled upon, and blessed my humble efforts, in 
some places ; he has given me remarkable strength 



EEV. THOMAS Gr. STEWAET. 



237 



to endure the wear and tear of a rough life, and he 
has filled my heart with glory! How much have I 
to be thankful for ! Bless the Lord, O my soul !" 

" I will praise thee, I will praise thee ; 
Where shall I thy praise begin." 

He bade adieu to the circuit on the 18th of April, 
1847, and repaired to Salem, to attend the Confer- 
ence which was appointed to be held there. And 
this was the last Conference he was permitted to en- 
joy. According to resolution, he asked for a year 
in which to rest, that he might renew his physical 
energies, and be the better prepared to profitably 
employ the time which God might add to his life, 
and for the labor which he hoped to perform in the 
future. In his absence from the Conference-room, 
Bishop "Waugh inquired — " What is the opinion of 
the Presiding Elder of the district concerning Bro. 
Stewart's proposed supernumerary year?" To which 
Eev. John Porter responded: "Bro. Stewart has la- 
bored long and faithfully, and requires rest. I shall 
vote for the brother's release; but I question whether 
he will not work about as much as any of us after all/" 
The vote was unanimous, and Mr. Stewart went to 
Bordentown, where he had made arrangements to 
stay with his married daughter during the year. 



238 



LIFE OF 



CHAPTEE XIII, 

FROM LABOR TO REWARD. 

Review — It is a cross for Mr. Stewart to desist from preaching— 
Revisits New Egypt Circuit — Goes to Penn's Neck — Closing 
address — In Salem and Harrisonville — Preaches three times 
in one day — His constancy — Manner of life during his super- 
numerary time — Takes advantage of every afflicting pro- 
vidence to urge a perfect resignation to the will of God — His 
son James has consumption — Visits him at Millville — 
Preaches in Pittsgrove — Labors in Trenton — Closing sermons 
in Burlington — Sickness — Death — Grave-stone erected to his 
memory — Inscription — Death of James — Conclusion. 

We have now arrived at the closing year of Mr. 
Stewart's life. Faithfully had he labored for seven- 
teen years, in persevering effort to assist in the evan- 
gelization of the world. The success with which his 
labors were attended may be known from the fact 
that, during this time, he received five thousand souls 
into probationary membership. His meat and drink 
from the date of his receiving a license, was the 
preaching of Christ crucified! And he was not con- 
tent to preach occasionally, but rejoiced to raise his 
voice in honor of Zion's God at all times, and in all 
places. He added new appointments to every circuit 
of which he had charge, although several were of 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



239 



enormous extent when received ; and, after adopting 
such, he never omitted their regular fulfilling. He 
had an exceedingly humble opinion of his own 
abilities, and deemed no appointment to which he 
might be sent too indifferent for his qualifications, 
nor too hard for his energies. He was possessed of 
the genuine, self-sacrificing, missionary spirit, and, 
had he been converted earlier in life, his inclinations 
must have directed his footsteps, as they frequently 
did his mind, to heathen nations. Three years in 
succession he preached over four hundred sermons each 
year! "He studied to show himself approved unto 
God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, 
rightly dividing the word of truth." Although, at 
the time of his retiring from the active service, he 
regretted not having done more to advance the 
glorious cause of Christianity, he felt that he could 
exclaim, with Paul, " I am pure from the blood of 
all men, for I have not shunned to declare the whole 
counsel of God." Several of the circuits upon which 
he rode paid their preachers but small salaries ; he 
and his family were compelled to retrench and econo- 
mize, but he was able to thank God in retrospecting 
his ecclesiastical history, that his beloved ones had 
never suffered for the want of the necessaries of life, 
and he but seldom/ Thrice he recollected to have 
gone to bed hungry, after traveling long, weary 
miles through rain and darkness; "but," says he, "I 
had meat and drink that the world knew not of, and 
I was more favored than my Master, for I had a 



240 



LIFE OF 



pillow upon which, to repose, while he had not even 
where to lay his head." 

He was fortunate enough, however, by his pleasant 
sociability, to win the esteem of many affluent men, 
who, not belonging to the church, and consequently 
not paying systematically to its support, were accus- 
tomed to send occasionally of their abundance to him, 
whom they thus materially assisted. It was a coin- 
cidence which he pronounced u providential," that 
these supplies came when most needed. But while 
he sought to make the acquaintance of the rich, to 
point them to the source of " true riches," he did not 
avoid the poor, to whom he felt that he had an espe- 
cial commission from God ! Eich and poor, high 
and low, black and white, all received a warm hand 
from Mr. Stewart, and for all these classes and con- 
ditions of men he earnestly prayed every time he 
raised his voice in audible supplication. 

During the first three months after his arrival in 
Bordentown, he realized it a greater hardship to re- 
frain from sounding the gospel trump, than he had 
ever experienced in preaching ten times a week. He 
was glad when called upon occasionally by his old 
friend, Caleb Lippincott, at that time stationed in 
Bordentown, to officiate in the pulpit ; but, after ex- 
ercising thus, he felt that he had not that bodily 
vigor of which he had, through life, been so remark- 
able an example. Early in the summer, he took a 
ride through New Egypt Circuit ; passing two weeks 
with his old friends at Imlays Hill, Elytown and New 
Egypt. Returning, he set out to attend "an extra 



RET. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



241 



meeting," which was being held in the new church 
upon a spot of blessed' recollection in Penn's Neck. 
Here he preached twice, with great acceptance, to 
crowded congregations. On the latter evening he 
delivered a valedictory exhortation: "He feared 
sometimes that there were those who had attended 
upon his ministrations in that place, who had success- 
fully resisted the Holy Spirit's influences up to the 
present time. They had given him the warm hand 
of friendship ; he believed they loved him ; but they 
did not love the Saviour, and how could he leave 
them contentedly, when he knew their intercourse 
must terminate with life — this short life — and an 
eternity in prospect? He could not, he thanked 
God, he could not go away, perhaps forever, and not 
feel an anxiety for their eternal well-being ; but he 
thanked Him the more earnestly that their fraternal 
communion need not end with life. One drop of 
Christ's blood possessed sufficient efficacy to purify 
the vilest of earth's contaminated sons. Perhaps 
this might be the last time he should have the pri- 
vilege of admonishing them! The next news, per- 
ad venture, would be, that poor Stewart was dead! 
Should he see them in Paradise ? Would they not, 
when they heard of his demise, remember that they 
too must soon pass away ? Would they not promise 
to meet him in heaven ? Would they not start nowV 
Thus affectionately and pathetically did he speak 
to the people of Penn's Neck, for the last time 
indeed; and with tears rolling over his cheeks, he 
resumed his seat, and buried his face in both hands. 
21 



242 



LIFE OF 



From Perm's Neck he went to Salem, where he * 
remained a week, and preached several times at the 
solicitation of his former colleague, Rev. S. Y. 
Monroe; thence to Harrison ville, and preached 
twice. Thus, as he did not experience any par- 
ticular inconvenience at the time, his labors, which 
had been abridged during the summer, were increas- 
ed as the usual season of protracted meetings ap- 
proached. He had lost the vigor of youth and the 
energy of manhood, but his intellect was unimpaired, 
and his zeal as ardent as ever. The graces of his 
character were so mellowed by enduring the toils of 
his arduous labors, that public respect for him was 
augmented, and he could not go where he was 
known without an irresistible appeal to preach. 
Upon one occasion, he went to Bristol on Saturday, 
to visit a relative residing in that town. He re- 
mained over the Sabbath, and was persuaded by the 
stationed pastor of the place to preach once in the 
morning. He felt strongly warmed by the Spirit 
while dispensing the word, and wished at its conclu- 
sion that the time of his furlough were expired. 
Longing to hear the gospel proclaimed which he 
had tried to preach in the forenoon, he rode four 
miles into the country, to a small Methodist church, 
and entering it, seated himself near the door. Ob- 
served by the circuit preacher, he was called into 
the pulpit and prevailed upon to lift his voice a 
second time. He returned to Bristol; he whose 
regular appointment it was to preach was sick; 
there was none to fill the vacant desk, and Mr. 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 243 



Stewart the third time announced a text, and essay- 
ed to expound it. "Ask me to do anything but 
preach," said this worthy legate of the cross, " and I 
have the power to decline ; but to refuse standing in 
a place where all my desires are centred, towards 
which an irresistible force moves me, and I can only 
be passive." 

11 Preach and die" said Mrs. Stewart, almost in- 
dignant at this culpable disregard of his precarious 
health. 

" Preach or die," he replied, meekly. 

"It is no uncommon thing," says the Rev. Mr. 
Gilpin, "to behold the professors of Christianity 
divested at a maturer age of that burning love and 
that irresistible zeal by which they were peculiarly 
distinguished in early life. Of the many thousands 
who have, in every age, begun the sacred race with 
an apparent determination to obtain the prize, the 
greater part, either wearied with the inconveniences 
of the way or deluded by the suggestions of the 
world, if they have not altogether forsaken the path 
of life, have proceeded in it with so much irresolu- 
tion and weakness, that, at the conclusion of their 
course, it has remained a matter of much uncer- 
tainty whether they have reached or fallen short of 
the mark of their high calling." 

With Mr. Stewart it was not so. From the begin- 
ning to the end of his pilgrimage, there was never 
once perceptible the least tendency to a loitering or 
lukewarm disposition. He was every moment upon 
the stretch after spiritual improvement, and striving 



244 



LIFE OF 



to keep his loins girded, his feet shod, and his staff 
in his hand. Now that he had leisure from study, 
he read in the Bible almost exclusively, and prayed 
"without ceasing" — almost literally — passing the 
greater part of each morning in these holy exercises. 
He lived in the closest communion with God, and 
maintained an uninterrupted sense of his presence. 
All his conversation was sensible and cheerful, and 
was evidently intended to glorify God. He seemed 
always aiming to raise his own and others' spirits to 
a close and immediate intercourse with God, and he 
improved every affliction and misfortune by striving 
to direct their tendency to that end. 

This was strikingly illustrated in the severe illness 
and apprehended death of his grandson, the only 
child of the daughter with whom he lived in Bor- 
dentown. When his parents were weeping, and 
refusing to be comforted, Mr. Stewart paced the 
room, uttering kind and soothing sentences, assur- 
ing their wounded hearts that God gently chastens 
them whom he loves, and blesses with tenfold 
greater graces those who, under his mysterious pro- 
vidences, maintain a right spirit, and with unswerv- 
ing resignation in all his dispensations cry, "Not 
my will, O Lord, but thine be done." 

Consumption, with its dark wing, seemed to hover 
over and watch an opportunity to alight upon Mr. 
Stewart's loved children. A communication from 
Millville, in which town his son James had lived for 
several years, announced, at this time, the unwel- 
come intelligence that he was perplexed with an 



EEV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



245 



obstinate cough, which was baffling every effort put 
forth for its remedy. He and Mrs. Stewart at once 
repaired to Millville. From the first sight of their 
son — so familiar had they become with the symptoms 
of this unconquerable disease — they relinquished 
hope of his recovery. Every probable antidote, 
however, was recommended ; but the result proved 
that none produced the slightest abatement of the 
disease. 

Apprehending no immediate danger, after remain- 
ing a few days with James, they set out in a private 
conveyance to return home. Proceeding as far as 
Pittsgrove, they stopped to remain for the night with 
Mr. John Watson, and Mr. Stewart was induced to 
preach in the church which he had erected and 
called "Nazareth," while traveling Salem Circuit. 
These last visits and last sermons are remembered 
by those who enjoyed them, with an accurate re- 
membrance ; every word, every prayer, and almost 
every gesture is referred to with graphic descrip- 
tions. 

His last interview with his sick son, and the prayer 
offered on the morning of his departure from James' 
family, are thus described by his daughter-in-law: 
"In bearing pain, James was most exemplary, and 
continued to be more and more so throughout his 
tedious illness. His father was much gratified to 
hear him exclaim, 'I am no more afraid of death 
than of my brother!' and he besought his son to 
disengage his thoughts from his family, for whose 
welfare he sometimes expressed anxiety, and to trust 

21* 



246 LIFE OF 

God for support to his wife and children, the same 
as he trusted his power and willingness to take him 
from earth to heaven. 'Your treasure is above,' said 
he ; ' there let your heart be also. Preserve a mind 
free and disencumbered. There is a rest remaining 
for the people of God. No state, however blest, is 
without its trials here ; none, however melancholy, 
should divert the Christian's mind from that rest 
which must, sooner or later, if he is faithful, fall to 
his lot. In this life we have, now and then, a word 
of comfort from God, to keep up our hearts and 
hopes, but this is not our full enjoyment. We 
should never give undue thought to trouble, toil, 
want or fears ; but having them, go to Him who suffers 
them, and has power to avert. And if they are not 
removed, we should remember that Christ is touched 
with a feeling of our infirmities, and will sympathize 
with us, and assist us to bear them composedly. 
Under your pain and weariness and fear, go to God 
for rest, my son ; he will commence that which will 
be perfected in glory. I am an old man : the thought 
of your going away from earth and consequently my 
view, is designed to afflict; but "God doeth all things 
well," and if he command, my heart and lips approve. 
I do not presume to dictate, but were I permitted to 
choose, I would say — let my children die first, and 
stand on the frontiers of the celestial country, to 
welcome me at my approach. The Lord's will be 
done.'" 

How little thought Mr. Stewart that he should 
stand on " the frontiers of the celestial country" and 



EEV. THOMAS Gr. STEWAKT. 



247 



welcome James, whose life was now evidently soon 
to pass away. Yet thus it was. 

" He was drawn out in an extraordinary manner 
at the family altar upon the day he bade us farewell 
for the last time. After consigning James to the 
care of Him who created and redeemed him, the 
warm and earnest aspirations of his heart went out 
in supplications and entreaty for her who was soon 
to become a widow, and for each of the children. 
At length, as though suddenly enabled by divine 
assistance to exercise the degree of faith for which 
he had been pleading, he ceased to bear the afflicted 
family upon his prayer, and arising, completed his 
preparations for departure cheerfully." 

This long, wearisome journey to Millville, together 
with the deep solicitude he experienced in behalf of 
his son, impaired more perceptibly his infirm consti- 
tution, and for several weeks he was too unwell to 
attempt preaching. 

A letter awaited him upon his arrival in Borden- 
town, from Eev. John S. Porter, presiding elder of 
Burlington District, who informed him of the date 
fixed upon for the dedication of a church in progress 
of erection in the city of Burlington. 

****** 

Rev. Charles Pitman preached in the new temple 
upon the 28th of December, the occasion of its open- 
ing for divine services, from the text, " The love of 
Christ constraineth us." (2 Cor. v. 14.) The day fol- 
lowing, Messrs. Pitman and Stewart went over to 
Mount Holly, where they attended "a watch-meeting" 



248 



LIFE OF 



on the evening of the 31st. From this place the latter 
went to Trenton, by invitation of Eev. Clarke Polly, 
pastor of the Front Street church in that city, who 
was engaged in a protracted meeting. 

On Saturday, January 8th, 1848, Mr. Stewart re- 
turned to Burlington for the purpose of spending the 
ensuing Sabbath with Eev. Charles H. Whitaker. 
In the afternoon he went two miles into the country, 
and on this, the last Sunday that he ever preached, 
exhorted in the same school-house in which, thirty 
years prior, he lifted his voice for the first time to 
sound the gospel trumpet in New Jersey. 

His last two sermons were preached from Brother 
Whitaker 's pulpit; the final one, from a text which 
proved, in his case, singularly true — "The time is 
short." (1 Cor. vii. 27.) In the delivering of this 
sermon, he raised his hand to his head, and slowly, 
and with great solemnity, said : " These gray hairs, 
my friends, admonish me that time is short." 

At the conclusion of the former of these, he re- 
quested the Christians of the congregation to rise, 
and each take the hand of the brothers or sisters 
standing next them, and sing the familiar and beau- 
tiful hymn, commencing — 

"Jesus my all to heaven is gone." 

To the verses of this hymn, was sung with the spirit, 
the enlivening chorus — 

" We're all united heart and hand, 

Joined in one band completely ; 
We're marching through Immanuel's land, 

Where the waters flow so sweetly." 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



249 



In the course of his ministry, Mr. Stewart several 
times did this, and always with wonderful effect. 
The hearts of believers were knit together, while 
sinners witnessed with trembling, melting hearts, 
and many were led to exclaim — 

" And can I yet delay 

My little all to give ? 
To tear my soul from earth away 

For Jesus to receive ? 
Nay, but I yield, I yield, 

I can hold out no more, 
I sink by dying love compelled, 

And own thee conqueror." 

He remained in Burlington until Friday, on the 
morning of which day he walked with Mrs. Stewart 
to the graveyard in which his relatives were buried. 
Pointing to an unoccupied spot in the family section, 
he said, " There is a place for me." In the afternoon 
he was attacked by pleurisy, with great severity, 
which abated but little previous to his return home 
in the evening. 

Before leaving the house of Brother Whitaker, 
where every kindness had been shown him and every 
wish anticipated, he said to Sister Whitaker, " When 
I am sick, I investigate my spiritual condition to see 
whether, if God should call me, I am prepared to 
stand before him and give an account for the deeds 
done in the body. I am not fearful but that it is now 
well with me. I believe that an abundant entrance 
will be ministered unto me into the everlasting king- 
dom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 

"J?" *55> "3fr. *5fr "56 



250 



LIFE OF 



We have tried to trace the history of this servant 
of God through the arduous and eventful career of 
his active ministry. We come now to gaze upon 
him in sickness, suffering and death. We have seen 
the hero warring nobly on the great battle-field of 
the cross ; we come now to inquire whether the faith 
and hope of that cross sustained him when called to 
put off his armor, and lie down to die. On Saturday, 
the 15th of January, his disease increased in acute- 
ness, but on Sabbath, under medical treatment, the 
severity of his sufferings abated, and his family 
hoped that convalescence would soon allow him to 
mingle among them in the domestic circle. On 
Monday and Tuesday he suffered successive attacks, 
but on Wednesday seemed vastly improved; and 
Thursday he arose and walked across the chamber. 
The state of his mind during this time was calm, 
confident and resigned. He expressed no fear of 
death, but felt that he could adopt the language of 
the apostle, " For me to live is Christ, to die is gain." 

It was painfully evident that his system had re- 
ceived a violent shock, but as yet no doubts were 
entertained of his recovery. On Friday the 21st, he 
grew rapidly worse, his disease assuming a typhoid 
form. From this date his mind aberrated, and much 
of the time he seemed insensible to pain. But at 
family prayers, which were held in his room on the 
evening of this day, when his son-in-law, Mr. George 
E. Story, had concluded reading in the Bible, he 
suddenly opened his eyes, looked up and said, 
" George, you read the whole of the 103d Psalm." 



REV. THOMAS G. STEWART. 



251 



On Saturday and Sunday he was unconscious, 
except at intervals, when he betrayed no anxiety, 
but uttered short sentences expressive of happiness 
and trust in God. His speedy decline was relieved 
by no favorable indications after Friday, but was 
accelerated by sudden and alarming symptoms. 

On the morning of Monday the 24th, Brother 
Whitaker came from Burlington. Entering the 
room and approaching his bedside, he took his 
hand and said, "Brother Stewart, do you not know 
Brother Whitaker?" There was a seeming effort 
of recognition, but no reply. He continued to 
fail during the morning; at 12 o'clock, a change, 
betokening the near approach of death, took place. 
His breathing grew shorter until 2 o'clock, when life 
ebbed away, and the spirit of "Father Stewart" took 
its flight to that brighter abode, for which, during 
thirty-five years, it had been his single object to 
prepare. His last intelligible words were, "All is 
well." 

Thus passed away a pure and noble spirit of earth, 
in the 58th year of his age, and 18th of his ministry. 
His bodily remains were conveyed to Burlington on 
Wednesday, January 26th, and deposited in the Me- 
thodist churchyard. His funeral sermon was preached 
by Kev. John S. Porter, from the text, "He was a good 
man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith ; and 
much people were added unto the Lord." (Acts xi. 
24.) 

His friends in Burlington subsequently erected a 



252 



LIFE OF REV. THOMAS Q. STEWART. 



grave-stone, upon which is engraved the following 
in scrip tion : — 

TO THE MEMOKY 

OF THE 

REV. THOMAS a. STEWART, 

OF THE NEW JERSEY ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE M. E. CHURCH, 

Who departed this life in the hope of the Gospel, Jan. 24, 1848, 
in the 58th year of his age and 18th of his ministry. 

" Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth : 
Yea, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors ; and their 
works do follow them." 

Mr. Stewart's son James lingered upon the earth 
till the 9th of June, when his sufferings were termi- 
nated. The grace of God was gloriously manifested 
in the patient, peaceful and triumphant state of mind 
in which he endured affliction and died. His mortal 
remains were interred in the graveyard at Millville, 
there to await the resurrection of the just. 

Death wounds to cure ! we fall ; we rise ; we reign ! 
Spring from our fetters ; fasten in the skies ; 
Where blooming Eden withers in our sight. 
Death gives us more than was in Eden lost. 
This king of terrors is the prince of peace ; 
When shall we die to vanity, pain, death ? 
When shall we die ? When shall we live forever ? 



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